There is some undetectable connection between dreary weather and the stomach. Last Saturday, the sun forgot to come out in Sarasota, and after a lazy afternoon indoors, I knew that homemade french onion soup was the dinner meal that would perfectly fit my mood.
Vegetarians always get the short end of the stick when it comes to french onion soup, which is traditionally prepared with a beef stock base. This same rich flavor can be matched using soy sauce, vegetable stock and a splash of sherry. I used onions as well as shallots in this recipe.
Don't let the 1 hour 30 minutes time stamp scare you off: you won't spend more than 15 minutes on preparation. The majority of the time allotted is spent waiting on the onions to caramelize, which requires minimal stirring once every twenty minutes.
So, vegetarians and carnivores: eat your heart out. Vegans: you're good to go, as long as you skip the cheese and substitute olive oil for the butter.
Rainy Day French Onion Soup (Vegetarian Friendly)
4 Tablespoons butter
5 cups vegetable stock
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
Splash dry sherry
3 large onions, slice thin
2 shallots, quartered
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Dash of thyme
Gruyere or Swiss cheese
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and salt and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the dry mustard and thyme.
Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer the onions over low heat for 1 hour, stirring every twenty minutes. After one hour, or when the onions begin to sizzle and brown, stir more frequently to prevent burning. Once the onions are a rich, golden brown, add the vegetable stock, soy sauce and sherry. Heat for another ten minutes.
While the onions are cooking, cut or tear the french bread into large chunks, and brown. Fill oven-safe bowls with the browned and crunchy bread.
When the soup is complete, fill the bowls and cover with cheese (I used two slices of Swiss, and some leftover Roquefort). Place the bowls under the broiler for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese melts completely.
Read more about my offbeat adventures is domesticity at playingh.wordpress.com.