I was tossing a few ideas around for what to make as the first course for our Rosh Hashanah feast and as I often do, ran several ideas off of some tasters. Between friends on gchat the whole menu was born. I don’t recall which of the gentlemen came up with the idea for French Onion Soup, but there it was. Easy, delicious.
Alas, when I looked up French Onion Soup, every recipe called for veal stock, beef stock, this stock, and those bones. Not a good idea for the vegetarians in the posse, as they were already going to have to skip the main course. So I created my own version. I don’t love the flavor of store bought stock, particularly the vegetable broths out there, so I combined veggie broth with water and to add to the flavor and richness, I soaked dried mushrooms and the stems (reserved from the stuffed mushrooms, remember those?) in boiling water. That was a good move and changed the flavor completely. Seriously good move.
Vegetarian French Onion Soup
3 medium-large yellow onions, sliced thinly in crescents
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup boiling water
stems of about 15 mushrooms + 1/4 cup dried mushrooms
3 cups vegetable broth (+ 1-2 more cups water)
1/3 cup (approximately) red wine
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
5 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
Saute the onions and garlic in 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter until completely soft, stirring only occasionally. Add a hefty pinch of salt while they’re cooking. Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to cook the onions down, add more, cook those down, and continue until done. The garlic and onions can get a little brown, that’s okay.
While the onions are sauteing, boil 1 cup of water and pour over dried and fresh mushrooms in a bowl. Let that sit while the onions are cooking (at least 5-10 minutes).
To the onions, add the wine and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until reduced. Add the broth, 1 cup of water, the vinegar, and strain the mushroom broth into the pot too. This should be just enough liquid to cover the onions. Add the herbs and partially cover the pot and simmer for 10-15 minutes. If there is not enough liquid to cover the onions, add up to 1 more cup of water/broth.
Crostini with Grated Dos Lunas Raw Milk Cheese
Sliced baguette for some folks
Sliced Udi’s white bread for others
1 cup grated raw milk cheese or a nice hearty swiss
Toast the bread with 1-2 tablespoons of cheese on top. Remove toast when the cheese has melted and starts to bubble. Ladle the soup into bowls and place the cheese crostini on top of each bowl. Serve piping hot.