Saturday, October 3, 2009

0 Recipe #55: Vegetarian French Onion Soup

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This recipe makes for a great post-exercise fluid/sodium replacement option. I often drink it after long runs on a chilly Fall or Winter’s day. It’s very refreshing & tasty, and so easy to make. Enjoy!

Vegetarian French Onion Soup

2-3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil (Or, for more flavor, use ½ Tbsp. olive oil + ½ Tbsp. butter)
2 shallots, minced
2 yellow onions, sliced into ¼ inch thick slivers
2 large bay leaves
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1-2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 Tbsp. whole wheat or all-purpose unbleached white flour
½ c. sherry
½ c. dry white wine
¼ c. low-sodium soy sauce, or to taste
6-8 c. water (or for more flavor, can use vegetable stock)
4 slices bread (can use whole wheat or sourdough slices, etc.)
4 Tbsp. shredded Asiago cheese (or vegan Parmesan cheese substitute)
a few sprinkles of a soft, mild-tasting cheese like mozarella* (or vegan shredded cheese substitute)

1. In a large nonstick pot, sauté the garlic in olive oil (&/or butter) over medium heat, until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Stir occasionally, watching pot carefully, to make sure garlic doesn’t burn. Add shallots, onions, and bay leaves. Lightly season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes. (If you cook the onions too quickly, they’ll taste bitter.) Add flour, stir well, and cook for 2 more minutes. Deglaze pot with sherry and white wine. Add water/stock, taste and bring to a slow boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Taste soup for flavor & sodium content/level. If necessary, add soy sauce (to taste), and adjust other seasonings as needed. Place 1 slice of bread at the bottom of each bowl/soup cup and ladle in soup. Sprinkle each full bowl with 2 tsp. Asiago cheese, mixed with a few sprinkles of low-fat mozarella, etc.

Yield: Makes 4 servings.

Chef's Notes: *While it's more traditional to use Gruyère, I frankly think that low-fat mozarella tastes better & has a more even consistency when mixed with the Asiago. IMHO, melted Gruyère tastes like a rubber band. :) Of course, do what you like best.

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