It's official: our summer here in Britain is over, the weather has turned cold, and I am feeling the midwinter blues already! So as an antidote, I decided I needed some warming winter comfort food. What better than this classic French onion soup, with hot cheesy bread croutons? I made this the other day and it certainly cheered me up, a wonderfully tasty and satisfying dish. I gather that onion soup is also great for chasing off colds and flu. I also like the fact that it has relatively few ingredients and is simple to make; the most difficult part is chopping up the onions, without crying your eyes out! I have given one or two tips below on how to avoid or minimise the tears. Try this recipe if you need a warm and comforting pick-me-up; it doesn't have to be just for winter!
Ingredients (Serves 4)
4 medium sized onions
2 tablespoons of vegan margarine or olive oil
850ml ( 3¾ cups /1½ pints) vegetable stock
120ml ( ½ cup ) white wine (sherry will also do)
2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
1-2 fresh garlic cloves chopped up small (use 1 or 2, depending on taste)
1 French bread stick (normal bread will also do)
1 tablespoon per topping grated vegan mozzarella cheese to top the bread (Most other cheese-types will do as well).
1 teaspoon of rice flour (for thickening)
¼ teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste (not much needed)
1) Peel and chop up the onions fairly finely. You don't necessarily have to use French onions, you can use any kind. I think the French and Spanish ones are the fiery ones, that make you cry the most! Our native English ones don't seem to be so bad. Tips to prevent tears include: chewing gum whilst chopping, having a window open nearby for a through breeze, or rinsing the onions well under a tap before starting chopping.
2) Put the onions into a frying pan, add the vegan margarine or olive oil and turn up to a medium heat. If, after 15 minutes or so, the onions aren't beginning to turn to a golden brown, turn the heat up slightly. Turn the onions every minute or so to ensure they are evenly cooked. Aim to cook the onions until they are a medium brown colour.
3) Transfer the onions from the frying pan to a large pan and add all the ingredients except the cheese and bread. Cook the soup on a medium heat for about 30-40 minutes. The aim is to get the onions so they are soft but not falling apart. They should be browned and slightly sticky, which means they have caramelised.
4) Cut up the French bread into slices and put them under the grill to very lightly toast them on both sides. When lightly toasted, spread some cheese over each slice of bread.
5) Just before the soup is ready to be served, put the cheese topped bread under the grill and cook until the cheese starts to bubble.
6) You can either place the slices of cheesy bread on top of the soup to serve like croutons, as is traditional, or just put them on a plate by the side, as I usually do, to dip in your soup. Delicious either way!
Ooh là là! Please vote and comment if you like it, merci beaucoup, mes amis!!
Photocourtesy of www.deliaonline.com