French Onion Soup has long been a favorite in our home. I've played with recipes for it countless times over the years. But this latest version is our favorite. The trick? A hearty, flavorful broth made from porcini mushrooms. It gives the soup an earthy under current that might be familiar to those of you who drink French wines. When cooking the onions, be patient. It takes up to an hour, but is worth every minute. If you can resist the urge to stir them too frequently, they will caramelize slightly quicker. The aroma of the cooking onions is enticing.
French Onion Soup [Vegan]
6 - 8
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 5 cups water, divided
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 large sweet onions, cut in half and thinly sliced (8 cups)
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 large leek, cleaned well, sliced thinly (white part only)
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch cayenne (optional)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose or whole wheat flour
- 3 tablespoons dry sherry
- Ground black pepper
- Slices of stale french bread, topped with vegan cheese and broiled, if desired
- Heat 1 cup water to boiling in a small saucepan. Add the mushrooms, cover, reduce the heat to low to simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the broth through a piece of cheese cloth and save. Rinse the mushrooms well. Combine the porcini broth, mushrooms and 1 cup water in a blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium low heat. Add the onions, shallots, and leek. Add some black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for 40 minutes to 1 hour. The onions will reduce in size by about 1/2 and should be lightly browned. Stir in the garlic, herbs and spices, and flour. Cook 4 to 5 minutes until the flour is well incorporated. Deglaze with the sherry, then add the porcini broth mixture and the remaining4 cups of water. Simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Taste and adjust the seasonings.