Monday, 1 February 2010

Four Onion Soup - Vegetarian

There have been visions of onion soup dancing in my head for a while, but I wanted to make a vegetarian version, and one that wasn't drenched in cheese, so it took a little figuring. This is still fairly rich, and I have to admit it would be nice with cheese - but was also perfectly good without it. I made mine pretty thick and oniony, but it could be thinned down a bit, especially if you were making it with some good broth. I just used water. Again, I'm giving a pretty big range on the miso because it varies so much in strength. Just keep tasting the soup as you add it; remember you can always add more but once it's in the only solution to pollution is dilution - extreme dilution.

This is a fairly labour intensive soup; I chopped all the alliums except the garlic the night before and I have to say that cut up the work nicely. And yes, this should really have been called "Four Alliums" soup tobe strictly accurate, but it doesn't exactly trip of the tongue, does it?

4 to 6 servings
1 hour 15 minutes - pretty much all work time, sorry

Vegetarian Four Onion Soup
Make Seasoning Mixture:
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon rubbed savory
1/2 teaspoon rubbed thyme
1/2 teaspoon rubbed oregano
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, ground

Mix in a small bowl and set aside until needed.

Make the Soup:
2 cups diced yellow cooking onion (2-3 medium)
2 cups diced shallots (12 to 16 medium, probably)
2 cups chopped leek ( 1 large or 2 medium-small)
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 to 6 cups water or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon sherry or balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sweet sherry
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 to 3 tablespoons light miso

Peel and dice the onions and shallots. Clean and trim the leeks, and cut them in half lengthwise, then cut them crosswise into 1 cm slices. Set all these aside. You may wish to do this the night before, keeping the finished vegetables well covered in the fridge until wanted.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. You may have to use two skillets if you do not have a really large one. Gently sauté the onions and shallots until golden-brown, stirring regularly especially towards the end of the cooking; about 20 minutes. When the onions and shallots are about half-done, and reduced in volume by about one-third, add the leeks and continue cooking towards your golden-brown goal.

When the onions are done and the leeks look softened, add the garlic and mix in well for a minute or two. Add the flour blend and mix in well, until there are no signs of white left. Mix in the water or broth, a cup at a time, stirring well after each addition.

Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes. Mix in the vinegar, sherry and mustard, and then the miso one tablespoon at a time. Keep tasting the soup, and when the miso has supplied the correct level of saltiness, stop adding it.

You can serve the soup with a slice of grilled cheese on top or at the side, but it's perfectly good as-is.

Last year at this time I made Vegetarian Sauerkraut Soup.


The Real Dish said...

looks great! And while cheese is nice, it's also nice to get all the good flavors of the soup without it being drowned in cheese :)
thanks for the recipe

Brittany said...

Cooked this tonight for dinner- and it was so tasty! I'd never cooked with miso before, but I think I'll be using it more often in the future. Thanks so much for this recipe!

Brittany said...

We made your soup tonight and it was delicious!! Thank you so much for sharing. It's really refreshing compared to most french onion soups.