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Now, how about that soup?
However, I didn’t really want the usual French Onion soup with the cheese and all. Though I do make it from time to time, I admit, it is never all that much fun for me. My husband and son love it but since I need to use soy cheese and I haven’t yet found a suitable substitute for the yeast-risen bread, it just isn’t the same dish for me and, sadly, I’m not wild about the alternative results. This time, I set out to do something a little different and I must say, I was pleased with the results.
Here’s what you’ll need to make soup for four or five:
· 2 large sweet onions
· 2 – 3 T margarine or butter
· 1 tsp salt
· 24 oz chicken stock or broth (you may use beef or vegetable instead, if you prefer)
· Standard White Sauce – for this, you’ll need 2 T margarine or butter, 2 T flour (you may use an equivalent amount of cornstarch, rice starch or quick-cooking tapioca if you want to avoid wheat flour), 1 ½ C plain almond milk (you can use regular milk or another substitute but you’ll lose the almond part of this dish), dash of ground black pepper, 1 tsp celery seed, salt to taste
· Parsley and/or slivered almonds for garnish
Cut the tops and roots from your onions and halve them. Slice them about ¼ “ thick.
In a large stock pot, melt the margarine or butter and add the onion and salt. Allow the onions to cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. You want to get a light golden color and a bit of caramelization. There will be a bit of a crust on the bottom of the pot but we’ll get that in the next step.
Once the onions have caramelized a bit (but don’t burn them), reduce the heat to medium low and add the broth. Stir well and scrape the crust from the bottom of the pan. You really don’t want to lose the flavor there. Cover and allow this to simmer for about a half hour, stirring occasionally, until the onions a very soft.
In the meantime, you’ll need to make a standard white sauce. To do this, melt 2 T butter or margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in 2 T flour (or alternative), celery seed and pepper and stir until smooth. You will smell a light toasted smell but careful not to burn this. Add the almond milk all at once. Stir until smooth and simmer until thickened and bubbly. This will need nearly constant stirring so don’t walk away. Your onions and broth are largely taking care of themselves now so you’ll have time to do this. Taste once you have added the milk and add a bit of salt if needed. Once the white sauce is ready, turn off the heat and keep stirring until it has stopped bubbling. If you aren’t ready to add it to the soup right away, stir it occasionally to keep it from forming a skin.
When the onions are very soft, slowly add the white sauce, stirring constantly. The soup is ready! Garnish with fresh snipped parsley and/or slivered almonds.
If you like thicker, creamier soup, you can either cut the onion and broth part of the recipe in half or double the white sauce recipe. It depends on how much soup you want to make. For smoother texture, you can run the onions and broth in the blender before adding the white sauce. Personally, I prefer the texture of the onion pieces but it will taste great either way. This soup is very nice on its own but is also good served with nice crusty bread or rolls.