In our house we love onions. For some reason, the thought of making French Onion Soup always intimidated me. Then I tried it! While time consuming, it is not as difficult as I feared. My version is vegan. Perfect for whether you are vegan or just looking for a great Meatless Monday option.
First? The onions! Garlic too! This recipe requires quite a few onions. Two pounds each of yellow onions, red onions, and vidalia onions. I prefer the different layers of flavor provided by using different varieties. If you prefer, you can use all yellow onions or any variety you like. The most important thing is to have approximately six pounds of whatever onions you choose. Also, six cloves of garlic.
In a six quart dutch oven over low heat, two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and two tablespoons of dairy free butter substitute heat until melted.
This allows time to start slicing!! Halve and thinly slice all of the onions. This step alone takes about a half hour.
Once all of the onions are sliced, turn the heat up to medium and add all of the onions into the dutch oven. Press all of the garlic in as well.
Slowly allow the onions to caramelize, stirring often. This step can not be rushed! Three hours so so later they should be nicely caramelized. I did warn you this was time consuming, right?
Add one and a half cups of red wine, one half cup of balsamic vinegar, four cups of homemade vegetable stock, four bay leaves, thyme, and salt to taste. Simmer until all of the flavors are beautifully combined; this will take approximately one hour. Remove the bay leaves.
A while ago, I read a great tip for making vegetable broth. When cutting up vegetables like carrots, celery, mushrooms, etcetera, save the scraps in a gallon size freezer bag. When the bag is full, dump the vegetables in four quarts of water, bring to a boil, then turn down heat and let them simmer for a few hours. The end result is a delicious, healthy, salt free vegetable broth. It can either be used immediately of frozen for later use.
Since we do not have oven safe crocks, this is where I stray a little further from tradition. Slice a loaf of crusty bread. Place the slices on a baking sheet and top with dairy free swiss cheese. Into the oven, set to broil.
Keep an eye on them, when nicely browned remove from the oven.
Ladle the soup into your favorite soup cup or bowl. Top with the cheesy bread and enjoy! I was hoping to have leftovers to simmer roast beef for sandwiches in, but that did not happen. Maybe next time!