This recipe has a great depth of flavor. Vegetable stock replaces the usual beef stock, and shiitake mushrooms add an earthy flavor. Caramelizing onions does take time, yet very rewarding.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon butter, or vegetarian substitute
- 3 large onions, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick – about 10 cups
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 7 ½ cups vegetable broth, have extra on hand
- 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, asian shops or supermarkets
- 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, peeled, sliced, julienned
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed, cut 1/4 ” thick
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme sprigs, tied in twine
- ¼ cup white wine, or brandy or sherry
- 1 teaspoon caramel flavoring, available in asian markets, or low sodium soy sauce
- 6 slices whole grain baguette, sliced 1 ” thick
- 8 ounces gruyere cheese, sliced 1/4″ thick, or vegan substitute
In a heavy soup pot, add the oil and butter and place over low – moderate heat. When the butter has melted, add all the onions and salt. Stir well.
Cook for one hour, stirring often. Do not let burn. Towards the end some golden color will develop. In the meantime, add all the broth into a large pot with the dried shiitake mushrooms. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 30 minutes. Cool slightly then strain and discard the mushrooms. This step will heighten the flavor of the soup. To the onions now add the garlic, sliced shiitake mushrooms, black pepper and thyme bundle. Stir well over low – moderate heat until the mushrooms have wilted, and just slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Add the white wine, strained vegetable broth, and the caramel flavoring. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 20 minutes to blend all the flavors. Take off heat. Add more vegetable stock if too thick, but do not thin out too much. Remove the thyme sprig and discard.
Preheat the broiler. In 6 heat and broiler proof crocks, portion the soup. Lightly toast the baguette slices. Place one in each crock, pressing down slightly. Top with gruyere cheese covering the bread. Broil the crocks until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Carefully remove and enjoy!
Caramel flavoring is a chef’s little cupboard secret. Adds a great deep toned color to soups and gravies. Use sparingly.
Servings : 6