Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vegan Onion Soup

I'll admit it: I have Paula Deen cookware.  She puts her name on a 5 quart saute pan that is absolutely perfect for this recipe.  It has a non-stick coating, it is quite large, and it was on sale at Big Lots.  For this recipe, you are going to need a rather large pan with a large, flat surface area on the bottom.  You can probably get by with other pans but having a pan that fulfills these criteria will help immensely.

Admittedly, this soup is a little time consuming, but it is delicious!

3 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Sweet Onions (like Vidalia Onions)
2 Spanish Onions
2 Red Onions
3 Leeks
1 tsp Salt
3 Bay Leaves
1 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 cup Ale-style Beer (I used Troeg's Mad Elf)
1/2 cup Apple Cider
1 quart Low/No Salt Vegetable Stock

Heat oil in a 5 quart pan.  Trim the ends off each onion then halve lengthwise.  Remove the peel and slice.  Trim both ends off of the leeks (you'll be using only the whites).  Halve them lengthwise and slice.  Turn the burner down to medium and add the onions and leeks to the pan one at a time, stirring after each onion/leek has been added. 

When all of the onions have been added to the pan, sprinkle the onions with salt and toss in the bay leaves.  Stir occasionally until onions are dark mahogany and are reduced considerably.  This should take about 1-1.5 hours. Do not worry if they burn a little.  Stir regularly (around the hour mark you'll need to stir the onions every five minutes or so to keep them from sticking).

Add the black pepper, oregano, and beer.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the apple cider and vegetable stock.  Simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes and serve.

Traditionally, French onion soup is topped with Gruyère cheese and croûtons and toasted in the oven before serving.  I think this soup is good enough to stand alone without the cheese (plus it won't be vegan if you do add Gruyère), but the addition of toasted croûtons is a nice touch. 

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