Friday, March 27, 2009

Onion Soup tres bien

You almost had us, March. You'd almost convinced us all that it was truly spring, season of mild weather, gentle breezes, and soft pastels. The porch furniture was popping out like mushrooms all over the neighborhood, seeds were being sown, plans were being made. Trust was being forged.

And the time was right, naturally, for you to sock us with another week of winter. Snow-salted sidewalks, knife-toothed wind, and raw, gray mornings. Though I was as suckered into spring as the next person, it was kind of enjoyable to sigh and get the soup pot down off its hanger again. Though spring is the beginning of many things, it is emphatically the end of soup season. Turns out, I wasn't ready to let it go. Not quite yet.

I've been kicking around this recipe for French Onion Soup for awhile now. It's in Voluptuous Vegan, by Myra Kornfeld, and it's vegan. More importantly, (for us at least) it's vegetarian. I figured I wouldn't miss the beef stock, what with all the marvelous onions and leeks and goodness that goes into this soup. I was right.

I maintain, though, that cheese is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, and so our tureens of onion soup were gratinized with gruyere.

French Onion Soup (adapted from Voluptuous Vegan)

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups chopped onions
5 cups chopped leeks (about 5 medium, white part only; save the greens for stock)
3/4 cup minced shallots
1 cup sliced scallions (about 4)
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups good-quality vegetable stock-- Imagine makes a good one, or use homemade
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp salt, more to taste
a healthy dose of freshly ground black pepper

1/2 baguette, cut into thin rounds
~1 cup grated gruyere cheese

Warm the oil in a big, flat-bottomed pot. Add the onions and leeks. Cook, stirring, for ten minutes, until the onions are wilted. Toss in the rest of the veggies: scallions, shallots, and garlic. Turn the heat down to a simmer, and cook slowly for half an hour, stirring occasionally. Now, add the stock, soy sauce, and molasses. Bring the mixture up to a boil, and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover partially and cook for another half hour.

Meanwhile, spread your baguette slices on a cookie sheet, and rev up your broiler. Broil the rounds, watching attentively to make sure they don't burn. Flip them and broil the other side. Set aside.

If you have oven-safe soup bowls or gratin dishes, make sure they're on standby.

Once the soup is done cooking, place three baguette rounds in each bowl, and ladle soup over top. Sprinkle with a zealous amount of grated cheese. If you're using oven-safe bowls, you can slide them in under the broiler for five minutes to brown. Dig in and enjoy.

For best results, drink lots of red wine on the side.


ChristyACB said...

Ah, now that sounds a lot like my onion soup recipe and I can't tell you how much I love it! The difference being in the soy sauce, which I've never added. I'm really trying to cut down on salt!

Really, is there anything better than when your spoon goes through that crusty and bubbly top for the first time?

Kami said...

I completely agree with your thoughts on cheese. I completely disagree with your thought that March does not equal spring. March 7th (my b-day, how convenient for me) is the advent of flip flop weather, whether it's 3* or not! I'm a die-hard :)

Kaylen said...

Okay, that looks absolutely DELICIOUS. I want some nooooow.

Kristina said...

Christy-- really? Onion soup with molasses in it? I think the molasses is far weirder than the soy sauce, but it really added a nice flavor.

Kami-- Let me clarify. March can equal spring, but just as often it equals snow.

Kaylen-- Thanks for dropping by! I hope you find some delight here.

Melissa said...

Love what you said about cheese. I had to go dairy-free for a while with the latest nursling, and I never missed the first sip of milk or the taste of butter. But good cheese-- oh, boy, was I sad to go without.

We made a wonderful onion soup during the winters, but I'm eager to try your version. I keep hoping I'm going to find the perfect earthenware ramikins out thrifting some day...

Kristina said...

Hi Melissa-- Yes, cheese is important! If I had to go dairy-free, I'd miss cheese and ice cream.

Stephanie said...

I would die if I couldn't have cheese. Literally... die.

ChristyACB said...

I would also probably crumble up and wilt like an old lettuce were cheese removed from my life. Heck, if there were no more cows, goats, horses or sheep, I would learn to milk cats!

Eh...just kidding!

Kristina, yep Molasses makes things yummy to me :) I'm not sure where it was I picked that tip up, probably one of the magazines I used to read while waiting in the library.

Kristina said...

Christy-- Do you recall the cat milking scene in Meet the Parents? Cracks me up, every time.

After this success, I'll be using good old molasses a lot more often.

dottyspots said...

Ooooh there's few things better than a good onion soup! I also have a recipe for a red onion tart - the onions are caramelised with a dash of balsamic vinegar, it's absolutely wonderful!

Kristina said...

Oh, yes-- onions caramelized with a little acid is divine indeed. Good suggestion. :)

Tina Tarnoff said...

This looks and sounds soo good. I've always wanted to make French Onion Soup and since I've been trying to get back on the vegan wagon for a while now, maybe this should be the recipe to start with!
Such a lovely blog you have, my dear, I will be coming back often!

Kristina said...

Tina-- thanks for stopping by! Even without the gruyere, this soup would be amazing.

fleur_delicious said...

hey, thanks for your sweet comments on my flags!

this soup looks delicious - I've been thinking about pea soup with vidalias lately, but one glance at your gorgeous gruyere-encrusted bowls has put the former utterly out of my mind. Hmmm...think I need to go eat something now.

I'll be back for this recipe! (with cheese!)

Kristina said...

Yay! Pea soup with vidalias sounds great. I think we've got ourselves a good case of blogger cross-pollination going on! Thanks for visiting.

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