Friday, February 5, 2010

Vegetarian French Onion Soup with Sweet Vermouth

I love French onion soup - always have, always will. The only problem is 2 years ago we gave up the likes of beef broth (thank you Michael Pollan) so French onion has been missing from the menu.

I am on a soup kick this winter and have changed many recipes from chicken or beef stock to veggie so why would this be any different? Another change was a switch from Brandy to Sweet Vermouth and the results are divine! It really makes a subtle but very interesting change to the flavour of the soup. I have yet to perfect making a crouton and tonight was not the night to start messing around in the kitchen. The "croutons" are sub-par but still had a great taste - perhaps the result of a gooey mess of melty Swiss?

The key to this soup is taking your time with caramelizing the onions. This is the hard part. After that, it's a piece of cake.

The recipe is a compilation of many recipes including Chef Michael Smith, various home chefs from, random recipes on the Internet etc.

Ingredients and Prep:

For the Caramelized Onions:

  • 6 medium sized yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 swirls of the pan of olive oil
  • smidgen of salt
  • smidgen of sugar

For the Soup:

  • 6 cups of vegetable stock (traditional FOS calls for beef stock but this is a veggie recipe so we use that)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves only, no stems please!)
  • 1/2 cup of sweet vermouth
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • bread of your choice cut to fit the bowls you are using, toasted (or grilled in the pan grilled cheese style)
  • Swiss cheese, your choice on the amount! (Gruyere is often recommended but very expensive)
Add the butter and olive oil to your soup pot. Once hot and before the butter burns add the onions. Stir until coated. Add the salt and sugar. Turn the heat to medium low (more low than medium) and let them cook for about 1 hour. Stir periodically so they don't burn and add more butter/evoo if they need it. Once they are golden and caramelized, add the rest of the ingredients (not the bread and cheese though!) and simmer for 15 minutes.

Put the soup in your oven proof bowls, add the bread on top, then the cheese. Put them on a baking sheet under the broiler until bubbling and golden.

Bon Appetit!!!


Anonymous said...

Looks delicious!

Catherine said...

The second picture makes my mouth water. Great healthy French onion soup recipe :)
French course