My first experience eating French onion soup was memorable, and not in a good way. I was on a field trip with my French class, and French onion soup was one of those things we just HAD to try. I don’t remember if we got to pick our food option or not, but I don’t know that it would have mattered much as I had never had it before. It looked gross, all brown with a hunk of congealed-looking cheese on top; and it tasted gross, which may have had something to do with the fact that the cheese on top was probably Gruyere, which is definitely not my favorite. I’ve seen French onion soup on many a menu since then, but haven’t been gutsy enough to try it after the experience I had as a youngster.
After eating a bowl of this soup (with a thick slice of lentil bread and some melted mozzarella cheese on top), I’m convinced that I can like French onion soup. In fact, I would probably eat this for every meal forever if it didn’t take so much time to make and if it was a bit more nutritionally sound.
French Onion Soup
- 2 1/2 pounds yellow onions
- 3 tbsp non-dairy spread (I used Earth Balance)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 3 tbsp flour
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 thick slice of bread, cut in half
- 2 slices mozzarella cheese
- Cut the onions in half top to bottom and peel off the outer layer(s) of skin. Thinly slice each half and then cut the slices in half. Transfer cut onions to a large bowl and set aside.
- Melt the non-dairy spread with the oil in a large saute pan or soup pot over low heat. When it starts to sizzle add the onions and stir to coat. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
- Uncover the onions and stir in the salt, black pepper, and sugar. Cook, uncovered, over low to medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring frequently and lowering the heat if they start to scorch. You can add a bit of liquid or oil to the pan if they seem to be sticking or scorching a lot.
- When the onions are golden brown heat the vegetable stock in a separate pan. Stir the flour into the onions and cook for another minute or two.
- Add the hot vegetable stock, bay leaves, and thyme to the onion mixture. Cook the soup over low heat, partially covered, for an hour or until it’s as thick as you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- If you’re going to add bread and cheese to the soup, now’s the time to do it. If you have oven-safe bowls you can place the bread and cheese right on top of the soup, otherwise place the bread on a baking sheet and top with the sliced cheese. Broil on high until the cheese gets bubbly and starts to brown.
You can make this vegan by not using the mozzarella cheese, or by using a non-dairy cheese alternative.
Source: Adapted from the kitchn.