Vegetarian Vidalia Onion Soup

DSC_0106

Several weeks ago, back in Alabama, I found myself sitting across from my sister at a restaurant dinner table as she savoured every piping hot bite of what looked like a delicious French onion soup. It, of course, contained beef broth, so I was stuck just staring rudely. With each of my sister’s sips, I knew I was destined to make my own, vegetarian version this winter. I did. And it was amazing.

DSC_0130

French onion soup is one of those perfect winter dishes that makes you feel cozy and comforted, and, with the added bread-cheese gratinée, you just can’t go wrong.

DSC_0077

I decided, as usual, to include some choice ingredients. Seeing as I was back in Alabama, thinking about onions, I just had to purchase some Vidalias. This strain of onion comes from a very particular area in Georgia and you basically can’t get them here in California. So about a week ago, unknowingly, Southwest Airlines checked and transported what was probably the first bag full of specially procured onions. [Yes, they arrived safely!]

I love Vidalias, they are SO perfect for an onion soup (especially a vegetarian version). I was able to find petite Vidalias, with the greens still on, so we used those in the topping as well. Of course, for onion soup enthusiasts without access to the South’s produce, a standard, sweet yellow onion will suffice. I did end up supplementing with a few cippolini onions, which I believe are more easily procured from anywhere in the country. (Although for some reason, we haven’t been able to find those in California either, so I had to sneak those back from Alabama as well!)

DSC_0125

Whether it’s with Vidalias or plain yellow onions, this is a thicker-than-average onion soup, as I wanted something substantial. It is a little salty, especially after you add the gratinée, so I put very little actual salt in the soup and used a low-sodium vegetable bouillon.

Enjoy!

Vegetarian Vidalia Onion Soup

Ingredients

for the soup
2 pounds Vidalia, or sweet yellow onions (we used one pound of petite Vidalias, with the greens cut off and one pound cipollini onions)
4 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ -1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons better than bouillon vegetable base (we used low sodium)
¼- ½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 quarts boiling water
2-3 stems rosemary
3 tablespoons flour
½ cup white wine
½ teaspoon black pepper

for gratinée
bread (we used a french bread from Lucky, and it was amazing)
~ 1 tablespoon butter
2 cups grated fontina
1 tablespoon raw onion or chopped onion greens (we sliced the tops of the Vidalias)

DSC_0003

First, slice the onions. You don’t need to chop them, as they will break down. The important thing is to clean off the skins, slice them, and separate the layers.

DSC_0010

Cook the onions with the butter and olive oil in a large pot over low heat for about 15 minutes.

DSC_0016

Add in the salt and sugar. Simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

DSC_0017

While the onions are breaking down in the pot, make your broth in a separate bowl. Combine the porcini, vegetable stock base, and boiling water. Let it rest for 30 minutes. This will create a strong, rich broth, while also rehydrating the mushrooms.

DSC_0005

Continue to stir the onions. They should be browning well and becoming deliciously fragrant!

DSC_0020

DSC_0030

DSC_0033

Add the mushrooms and broth to the large pot along with the rosemary, flour, wine, and pepper. Simmer for an hour. Go watch your favorite show or even a movie. If it cooks for a bit longer than an hour, it certainly won’t hurt this soup!

DSC_0036

DSC_0053

DSC_0043

As the soup is finishing its time on the stove, preheat the oven to 325° F. Pour the soup into oven-safe bowls.

DSC_0066

Slice the bread and spread the slices with a bit of butter. Arrange the slices like a delicious lid over your soup bowl.

DSC_0091

Top with a generous amount of grated cheese.

DSC_0099

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Finish the gratinée off with about 2 minutes on broil.

DSC_0103

DSC_0105

Enjoy!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

DSC_0119

DSC_0132

DSC_0146

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s