Tonight I spent a very long time actively making tonight's dinner of French Onion Soup. I liked this recipe because it is a vegetarian version of french onion soup. Most recipes for it have beef broth as the main liquid. Even though water is the main liquid, it melds with the onions and creates a wonderful broth. This is the best French onion soup I have had, vegetarian or not. We really liked it and would definitely make it again - if I ever have the time to do it again.
I only made enough for 2 servings, so the cooking time took less time than is listed if you make the full recipe. The onions were browning after about 40 minutes (vs 90) and were nice dark brown a half hour after that. So instead of spending 2 hours cooking them, as is in the recipe, I only spent a little over an hour. It wasn't too bad. Broiling it only took like 2 minutes, also, so that reduced the time. All in all, the whole process took me about an hour and a half. It was worth the effort!
Note: As I posted this recipe, I realized that I forgot to add the sugar to my soup. It was just fine without it. Hmm.
Henri's French Onion Soup
Found on the CLBB, edited for spelling and inconsistencies
3 pounds yellow onions
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon table salt, plus *more as needed*
1 tablespoon sugar
1 sprig fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 baguette, crusty
8 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
Cut the tips off the onions and slice them in half lengthwise pole to pole. Peel off the outer layer of the skin and cut each half in half lengthwise. Slice each quarter crosswise in 1/8th inch slices. As you get close to the root, flip each piece onto the other flat side and continue slicing. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Once it has stopped foaming add the onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sugar. Toss to evenly coat. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove cover, and cook, stirring frequently until the onions begin to brown lightly, about 90 minutes longer. Now stir every 5 minutes and add a couple of tablespoons of water whenever the bottom of the pan crusts over with dark fond. Continue to cook as directed until the onions are and even dark walnut color, an additional 45 minutes longer. (Cooking times are just approximate.)
Add the flour and stir for two minutes. Add 8 cups water and the thyme to the onions and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add white wine and simmer 10 minutes longer. Taste for seasoning, adding salt as needed. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 325F and adjust a rack to the upper middle position. Cut the baguette into 3/4 inch slices and arrange on a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake until the bread is dry, crisp, and very lightly colored at the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove bread slices and set aside.
Heat broiler and place 6 heatproof bowls on a baking sheet. Fill each bowl with about 2 cups of soup. Top each with two baguette slices and evenly distribute grated cheese over the bread. Broil until well-browned and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Cool for five minutes before serving.
Yield: 6 servings