French onion soup, topped with crusty, vegan buttered bread and shredded, grilled vegan cheese. Food is always nourishing to me. ‘Nourishing’ means many different things. At times, you need to nourish your body, to provide it with energizing food. Sometimes, you need to nourish your soul, to nurse your heart’s wounds until time heals them. And at other times, you need to nourish your inner child. I will often make this soup on a Thursday or Friday night, at the end of a tiring week at university. It soothes me and makes me feel warm all the way to my toes. Sometimes, that’s all you need from food.
French Onion Soup [Vegan]
- 4 medium onions
- 1 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- about 2 glasses of white wine
- a pinch of dried thyme
- a pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp vegan butter, plus extra to butter the bread
- 3 slices of sourdough
- shredded vegan cheese, to serve (optional)
- nutritional yeast, to serve (optional)
- First things first: peel and chop the onions in half. Slice each half very thinly.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sweat the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic, salt and dried thyme. Cook for approximately 10 minutes; the onions need to be thoroughly softened and translucid (the salt will prevent them from burning).
- Pour the stock into the saucepan, slightly lower the heat and cover with a lid. Leave it to gently simmer for 45 minutes for best results. Add the wine and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. You want some of the alcohol to burn off, but not completely.
- The soup should now be a dark, coppery brown, the onions fall-part soft and caramelised.
- Pre-heat the oven grill to 200ºC/392ºF. Ladle the onion soup into 2-3 soup tureens (depending on their size, you may be able to serve more or fewer guests). Cover the soup with a slice of buttered sourdough bread, sprinkle over some vegan cheese or nutritional yeast. Place the tureens under the grill for about 3-5 minutes, or until the bread is toasted and the cheese, if used, is melted.
- Serve immediately, but beware of burning your tongue.
* You can easily make this soup without wine, though the flavour won’t be quite as rich. Add more vegetable stock if omitting the wine and make sure the onions are well caramelised, otherwise you won’t get any good flavour out of your soup at all. * The vegan butter makes all the difference. Olive oil will work fine in a pinch, but please, pleeease use butter if you can. The depth of flavour it provides is magnificent.