|French onion soup is the perfect cheesy delight|
When I order it at restaurants, it is delicious but often too salty. I can only eat a few bites before I’m reaching for my water glass. But mmm are those few bites delicious! In an attempt to remedy this problem, I make a vegetarian version, substituting organic, low sodium mushroom broth for beef broth. Mushrooms lend the same underlying meatiness that beef flavor does, but without all the grease and salt. I also add one to two cups of water to the soup, letting it cook off into the broth.
This version is as (or I think more) cheesy and satisfying as the original, but much healthier and vegetarian. It is also remarkably easy to make and packs a nice wallop of impact for guests as it comes out of the broiler sizzling.
This time I added actual mushrooms as well, but I’m giving you the recipe without them, as I think it tasted better without them. It’s certainly more traditional without mushrooms.
French Onion Soup
Time: 1 hour
Makes: 6 servings
3 large sweet onions, sliced
4 shallots, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dry sherry
6 cups organic low sodium mushroom broth
1 tablespoon thyme
Pepper to taste (there should be enough salt in the broth, but if not for your tastes, feel free to add it)
1-2 cups water
1 loaf French bread (baguette or other), sliced and toasted
2 cups grated Gruyere, Swiss, provolone or a mixture of all three
|Slice the onions along in opposition to their layers, creating long thin slices|
Heat oil in a large soup pot on medium. Add sliced onions and sauté. You may need to adjust the heat higher or lower depending on your stove. You want the onions to soften and caramelize, not burn. When they begin to soften, add the shallots and sherry. Sauté, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes, enough time for the sherry to cook down and the onions to fully caramelize. Then add garlic. Cook one more minute, enough time for the garlic to become aromatic, then add mushroom broth, water (optional), thyme and pepper, and turn the heat up to high. When it begins to simmer, reduce heat, but keep the simmer going, stirring as needed for 15 minutes.
|Soup coming to a simmer. I used mushrooms this time, but it changed the consistency and I like it better without them.|
|The Gruyere is beginning to bubble up and change color in the broiler.|
I love this recipe for this spring weather, rainy, but not too cool. French onion soup is cozy, like a watch-the-spring-rain-and-the-greening-of-the-world-from-my-window kind of dish. It’s light and little bit sweet, while being earthy and very satisfying. Perhaps it will warm me from the inside out, giving me strength to venture out into the rain. Maybe tulip shoots are also steeling themselves against the weather, preparing to expose themselves to damp, thawing air. Perhaps I should go find out.