Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Vegetarian "French" Onion Soup (with apologies to the French)

Vegetarian "French" Onion Soup

Ingredients (this is already a double recipe... I like leftovers)
1 stick butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 lbs onions (was 5 large ones for me)
1.5 l vegetable stock (that's 6 cups... original recipe called for 1.9 l, but I like my soups a bit thicker. Though it was almost a bit *too* thick this time... just add more water at the end to get it to the consistency you want)
1 cup sherry (very dry) or white wine
Salt, pepper

And if you want to be good,
1 loaf French bread
gruyere cheese
maybe some parmesan

1. Put on your onion goggles. Take a self portrait.
Onion goggles, to prevent you from tearing up. No joke.

2. Peel onions. Cut in half then slice thinly in food processor
3. Heat butter and oil in large pot over medium heat and add onions
The onions at the start. These photos don't do the large size of this pot justice. For scale, my hands fit in those handles on the sides.

4. Cook onions for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally
5. In that 45 minutes, there are many things you can get done. I...
- fed Alice some canned food
- made myself a sparkling cranberry drink
I had leftover cranberry concentrate from Thanksgiving and leftover Club Soda from a silly bet I made and lost (long story). I poured about 1/6th of a glass of cranberry concentrate then filled with Club Soda. Yummy! I had seconds.

- folded a load of laundry and moved another load into the dryer
- unpacked the dishwasher
- opened my long-awaited Kiss My Face package... I needed face wash and lotion and they sent my an email saying that everything on their site was 50% off! I've been using hand soap to wash my face...
I'm *so* excited! The box smelled lovely when I opened it.

- checked email
- cleaned up the onion peels
- put away my CSA vegetables
Just don't forget to stir those onions occasionally!
The onions at 20 minutes... there's lots of liquid, but the onions have wilted a bit.

The onions at 30 minutes... less liquid.

The onions at 1 hour. Yes, I did say 45 minutes (and you can't cheat and make it shorter than that... you need the onions to caramelize slowly), but mine didn't look quite ready at 45 minutes... I think the heat was on too low at the beginning.

6. When onions have turned a lovely shade of golden, add broth, sherry, salt and pepper. At this point, I realized I had only about 1/4 cup sherry in the cupboard, so I used Marsala for the rest. It's not the same, but when else am I going to use that Marsala (like the Sherry, I bought it for cooking, but no recipes seem to ever call for it now that I have it!)?
Yummy soup goodness simmering away.

7. If you're being good, you'd slice up that bread now, top the slices with cheese, and broil them til the cheese looks extra yummy. Then you'd put a piece in the bottom of each person's bowl. If you're bad like me, just heat up whatever bread you find in your freezer first (in was Nan/Naan for me! Way to mix ethnicities!) and maybe smear some butter on it or something. 'Cos if you're like me, you don't just have gruyere lying around. And you would have decided to make this recipe when you got home a bit early one night and thus hadn't planned for it.
8. After about 30 minutes (or 10, if you're like me and just want to eat while watching The Tenant of Windfell Hall, episode 3 (of 3) on Netflix Instant Viewing and don't really care), scoop some soup up and pour it into the bowl over the piece of bread with gruyere. The bread should float to the top, but get soft enough to eat with a spoon. Serve.

Okay, so I hope at this point you understand that while this is a perfectly yummy recipe, I didn't really post it for the recipe itself... I just wanted to show off my new onion goggles (Christmas present from Santa--thanks mom and dad!). Did they work? You bet they did!!! My eyes didn't water at all. But, the onions made me sneeze and my nostrils weren't too happy--haven't ever noticed that effect of onions before, but I'm guessing that because my eyes weren't watering, I stuck it out in the kitchen longer than I normally would have, so that meant my nose got it worse than usual. Or, they could have been particularly potent onions... please don't call animal cruelty on me, but this is what Alice looked like when I went to check on her:

Is that the saddest thing? I immediately went and opened the door to our deck, even though it was cool outside, and got Alice to come sit in the fresh air by playing with her. Her eyes got better in no time, thankfully! I didn't remove my goggles until the onions had been cooking for 30 minutes. Do they make cat-size onion goggles, I wonder.


Jodi said...

Poor Alice! Look at those crocodile tears. I remember your French onion soup -- it's delicious.

Happy New Year, Sam. Let's hope that 2009 is full of marvelous surprises and a fresh start!

Christine said...

Love the goggles picture! The onion soup sounds great right now in this chilly weather.

Genevieve said...

Love the goggles pic too!

Kirsty said...

Oh my word!
1. I had no idea they made onion goggles. I must get a pair stat! Do you suppose swimming goggles would work as well? Yours are very fetching on you.

2.I have NEVER seen a cat cry. Poor cat!

3. YUM!!!

4. You don't just have gruyere lying around? What kind of slob are you????

5. Happy New Year :)

Samantha said...

I'd never heard of onion goggles before Christmas morning either. I think swimming goggles would work--anything to keep onion-y air out of your eyes. But you have to post a photo if you try it, Kirsty :-)

I bought gruyere and a french loaf for the leftovers, and it did make it much better. Now I have a small chunk of (very expensive!) gruyere lying around. Better?

Also, attention everybody: I ended up seriously thinning down the leftovers, so I must have underestimated the amount of liquid for this recipe... just add broth/water/dry white wine until it's thin enough for your tastes prior to serving.