This was the second recipe that called for smoking the vegetables on the grill. Given my disastrous attempt with a stovetop smoker a couple days ago, I decided to sacrifice authenticity. The next best thing, I concluded, was to broil the onions and garlic in the oven. However, if you have access to a grill, smoke the onions and garlic over indirect heat for an hour and fifteen minutes on a "tray" made of aluminum foil, according to your grill's instructions.
If you don't have a grill, fret not! You can still make this variant on French onion soup.
Place 3 cups thinly, vertically sliced yellow onion and 8 garlic cloves on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray or lined with aluminum foil. Broil for 5 minutes in the oven. There's a little bit of smokiness to be had from broiling, right? (Just nod along; I'm really sad that I didn't get to try out true "smoking").
Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion mixture, 1/4 tsp. dried thyme (use about 3/4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme if you have it), one teaspoon tomato paste, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly.
Add 21 ounces vegetable broth and two tablespoons dry sherry. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for a full hour.
The original recipe, of course, called for beef broth, which is why I never get to enjoy French onion soup in restaurants anymore - well, that and the cheese. But vegetable broth works just as well at home. As for the sherry, if you're a strict vegan, you'll be worried about the filtration process. As with the last recipe I made involving sherry (see May), try the Fino en Rama unfiltered sherry. If you're not strict about filtration processes, use any dry sherry (the Puerto Fino from Lustau is a great one, and not too expensive).
After an hour, ladle one cup of soup into each of three bowls. Top each with two (half ounce) slices of French baguette and two tablespoons shredded "cheese". The original recipe called for Gruyere but I used the vegan mozzarella block from Galaxy Foods. (Note: toast the slices of baguette in the broiler for one minute, so they're nice and golden).
Place the three bowls on a baking sheet and broil for 3 minutes, until the 'cheese' melts. Make sure your bowls are oven-proof!
Each serving is 190 calories. And yes, I'm crazy: I cooked this on a 88 degree day.
yellow onion $1.24
tomato paste $1.39
vegan cheese $3.39
The Vegan Pantry
- Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy http://www.wholesoyco.com/
- Vegan milk - Silk http://www.silksoymilk.com/
- Vegan Feta - Sunergia http://www.sunergiasoyfoods.com/
- Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods http://www.galaxyfoods.com/
- Vegan Eggs - Ener-G http://www.ener-g.com/
- Vegan Butter - Earth Balance http://www.earthbalance.net/product.html