French Onion Soup

Macro

They said it couldn’t be done…but here it is, a veganized version of the classic French onion soup!

This recipe comes from Allison Rivers Samson, owner and operator of Allison’s Gourmet Online Vegan Bakery and Confectionary. She is famous for her ultra-decadent gourmet vegan chocolates and other sweets, but it doesn’t end there.

Allison is also the author of the “Veganize It” column for VegNews magazine.  Her recipes feature veganized versions of many comfort food favorites, like macaroni and cheese, lasagna, burgers–even Caesar salad! These recipes and so much more can be found here on her blog. I am a big fan of Allison’s work, both sweet and savory!

 Here’s a basic rundown of this deceptively simple, yet impressively elegant recipe:

Slice

Slice onions very thinly and sweat them in a large stock pot with a bit of salt.

Prep

The most critical step in this recipe is the caramelization of the onions. It is important to allow the onions to really cook down nice and brown. This is going to provide a very rich flavor to the soup.


Carmelize

Once the onions are done, the pan gets deglazed with a bit of white wine then vegetable stock and seasonings are added and the soup simmers for a few minutes.

Soup

Top with a toasted vegan cheese French bread slice and serve immediately!

Plate

Thai Sweet Potato Bisque

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This soup is a perfect blend of smooth and creamy, slightly sweet and spicy. Great served on its own or as a first course, it is super-easy to make, too.

Thai Sweet Potato Bisque

adapted from a recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz: Red Sweet Potato Curry with Cauliflower and Adzuki Beans

1 pound sweet potatoes (approximately 3 medium) to make 3 cups, mashed
4 ½ cloves Garlic, minced
1.5 tablespoons Ginger, fresh, minced
1 tablespoon Peanut oil
4.5 tablespoons Thai Red Curry paste
3 cups Vegetable broth
3 Star Anise Pods
3  tablespoons Tamari Sauce
1 15 ounce can full fat  Coconut milk
¾ teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
Sriracha (optional)
Lime juice (to taste, approximately 1 lime)
Cilantro for garnish

1. Bake sweet potatoes at 350 for 1 hour first. Peel and mash. :

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2. Saute garlic and ginger in oil. Add curry paste, veggie broth and star anise. Let boil about 5 minutes, covered. Uncover, remove star anise.:

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3. Add sweet potato, coconut milk, tamari and salt and mix well. Use immersion blender if needed, to get to a very smooth consistency.

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Add lime juice and sriracha to taste.:

Stock Options: Vegetable Broth

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The classical foundation of a successful soup or sauce is a well made stock. In vegetarian cooking many cooks use prepared stocks, bouillon cubes, powders and pastes. However,  to avoid the excessive sodium and fat contained in prepared products, a fresh stock can be made easily at home.

Most importantly, to create a clean, delicious tasting stock, the vegetables must be fresh, organic if available. This recipe will produce a light, delicate result, perfect for a broth based vegetable soup or sauce and the flavor can be intensified with the addition of tamari or soy sauce and heartier vegetables such as mushrooms, leeks or parsnips.

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This is the classical French method I learned in culinary school. I find it worth the little bit of extra effort to create a very pure, clear result. I hope you give it a try!

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Basic Vegetable Broth

1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped

2 large celery ribs, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

8 cups cold water

1 Bouquet Garni (see below)

Combine all ingredients in a stockpot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to an active simmer and allow to reduce by half, uncovered (about 1-1 1/2 hours). Lightly skim off any foam that accumulates on top of the stock. Do not stir the pot. This will help avoid cloudiness.

Strain through sieve, pressing lightly against vegetables with the back of a spoon to catch juices. Season to taste with sea salt. Store covered in refrigerator up to 3 days. May be frozen for 3 to 4 months.

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Bouquet Garni

1 square piece of cheesecloth (approximately 4″x4″) rinsed and squeezed out

Kitchen twine

Handful fresh parsley stems

3 springs fresh thyme

1 Bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 clove garlic

Place flavoring ingredients in center of cheesecloth. Gather and tie into a sachet with enough length of twine left to tie to the handle of the stockpot (careful to trim the end so it doesn’t catch fire on a gas stove).

Soup Magic: Spicy Black Bean

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Another weeknight meal I pulled off with minimal work! This soup didn’t even require any vegetable chopping! Can it get any easier?

I fired up the crockpot and added a few ingredients and let it cook on low for four hours. Dinner. Done.

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Spicy Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups cooked black beans

3 cups vegetable broth

16 ounces of your favorite tomato salsa

2 teaspoons ground cumin

Method:

Place all ingredients in crockpot and cook, covered, on low for 4 hours. Feel free to add a cup or so of frozen corn or other vegetables near the end of the cook time. Make it your own!

soup

Yield: 4 – 6 servings