French Onion Soup – Vegetarian/Vegan

Slow cooked time: 3 hours.  Can be started a day ahead, and finished up prior to serving. Feeds 6-8  The soups base is Vegan, the cheese is optional.

Ingredients:

3 Large sweet onions

8 Crimini or Shitake mushrooms

4T Pasture butter

2T Olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

2T finely chopped Fresh Thyme or 1T dried Thyme

Bragg Liquid Amino Acid to taste

Slivered Gruyere Cheese  (cheese is optional/ sub with your favorite vegetarian/vegan melting cheese)

Croutons

Add 8 cups cold water to large cooking pot, add outer shell and ends of onions.  Bring water to boil, and the reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes (this is optional- sometimes I don’t).  Cut onions in half (direction: end to end) and slice as thinly as possible.  Saute in butter/olive oil mixture, on low to medium low heat in (cast iron, if you have one) skillet, give the onions a good turning, so all are coated with oil in pan.  Stir this occasionally as it cooks -approx 1 to 1 1/2 hour.

It is very important not to rush this, you want the onions to cook down to approx 1/2-1/3 of your starting mass, and sweeten.

Cook until soft, amber brown and somewhat see through.  The flavor of this soup is as good as the onions are cooked well.

Here, it is time to add the mushrooms, thinly sliced.  Continue to saute 15 minutes.

Strain simmering broth and add onions and mushrooms, ‘rinse’ skillet with 4 cups water and add to the soup.  Let soup come to a boil, and lower heat to a simmer to reduce down. Add salt and pepper, Thyme and let simmer for 1 – 1 1/2hour. The broth will sweeten as it is allowed to simmer.  Give it a taste at the beginning, and return to taste, as you go.  You’ll get a sense of the flavor building as it cooks!

I like to stop cooking after an hour or so, to let the soup rest.  Then re-heat a half an hour before serving, adding Bragg Amino Acid at this time.

Croutons:  back to the cast iron skillet:  melt small amount of butter and/or olive oil in pan and toss medium to large cubed bread with a sprinkle of salt, so to toast on all sides.

Cut slivers of Gruyere into the bottom of each bowl, add desired amount of croutons and pour soup into the bowls.

Lovely with a fresh Spinach or Caesar salad

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