So it turns out that I’m not the world’s greatest vegetarian…I didn’t know that French Onion Soup was not vegetarian! It’s made of beef broth and I had it for the first time in February thinking it was the best vegetarian soup I’d ever had. Face palm. Fast forward a few months later and I’ve been craving nothing but French Onion Soup. While I was in Portland, that’s all I wanted to eat, but alas, none of the soup was vegetarian. I therefore made it my mission to make French Onion Soup myself! I mean, how hard could it be, right? Onions, water, broth, and some seasoning should be the fastest soup to make.
French onion soup is easy, but it requires major time and patience to cook. The onions are caramelized, and to caramelize onions to a beautiful golden brown, you’ll need time and patience. For those of you who will need more guidance on how to caramelize onions, Simply Recipes gives pretty detailed directions.
Note: If you don’t like onions, you won’t like this soup. I figured that would be a given, but I just wanted to alert you to that just in case. My grandma detested the scent of the onions caramelizing. (About an hour of an oniony smelling house, and I’m basically never allowed to cook this indoors ever again)
- 3 yellow onions (thinly sliced)
- 3 cups of water plus 1 more for deglazing
- 2 cups of vegetable broth (try to get broth without any celery)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 Tbsp dry thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- french baguette (thinly sliced)
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over low-medium heat. Add the sliced onions and spread them over the pot. They’ll fill most of the pot, but will cook down a considerable amount. After about 10 minutes, sprinkle some salt over the onions. Stir every few minutes to prevent burning. (They can stick to the bottom of the pot for a little bit to brown, but you’ll want to stir them before the burn.)
- After 20 minutes, add a 1/4 cup of water to deglaze the onions. About 15 minutes later do this one more time with a 1/4 cup of water when you notice a dark crust forming at the bottom of the pot.
- Cook for another 10-15 minutes and then deglaze the onions one final time with the dry sherry. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes so that the dry sherry evaporates.
Your caramelized onions should look something like this, if not darker in color.
4. Add the broth, water, thyme, and bay leaf to the pot. Bring the broth to a simmer and scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure there aren’t any onions sticking to the bottom. Simmer the soup for another 20 minutes covered. Add more salt and pepper to taste if needed.
5. When you’re ready to eat, serve the soup in individual bowls that can be placed in the oven. Top them with one or two slices of baguette, some parmesan cheese (or swiss or gruyere) and place them in the oven. Broil for about 5 minutes so that the cheese is a golden brown. Then remove from the oven (be careful to not let it burn!) If you’re vegan, just skip this step altogether or use daiya cheese.
And the soup is ready to be eaten! Don’t make the mistake of burning your mouth like I did. This recipe should serve about 8 small bowls or more. I adapted Home Sweet Jones’ recipe to make it simpler and healthier by using more water than broth, fewer onions, etc. Broth is generally higher in sodium, and so for those with high blood pressure, more water may be a better option in your soups as long as it’s still flavorful.
If you’re a vegetarian who enjoys French Onion Soup, you should definitely make this. You won’t even miss the beef broth, and trust me, I know (through innocent error, of course).
I hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday and let me know what you think of the soup if you make it! I’m going to watch some more of the Olympic games. Go Team USA!