I love both French onion soup and caramelized onions. Sometime last fall, I came across Foodie With Family’s recipe for both, in the SAME post! If you are a French onion soup fan too, you NEED to check her post out!
I tried the slow-cooker onions right after I read the post. The cooking does take a long time, but the benefit is that the entire house doesn’t smell like you’re cooking onions. When you have a smell-sensitive person living with you (even one that loves onions) and an old house with horrible ventilation, that’s a HUGE bonus. I did have to take the lid off at the end of cooking to evaporate some of the condensation, but the smell was still minimal.
When I was done, I just stuck the onions into sandwich sized ziploc bags, froze them, and forgot about them until I was cleaning the freezer out on Sunday. I’m the only one in my household that likes french onion soup, so before then, I hadn’t made it for almost twenty years.
When I was single, I made a vegan version using soy sauce as the flavoring agent (from a PETA cookbook, so it’ll probably be on their website). My taste for soy sauce has waned over the years anyway, so I don’t expect I’d like it the way I used to, and there was never really a beef base that I thought would be suitable for the soup. I did recently watch a Cook’s Country episode where they used dried shiitake mushrooms for a vegan beef-style soup base, so I may try that if I get around to growing a patch of shiitakes.
Growing shiitakes seems to be pretty easy. We have a mushroom farm in the area, and last year I had gotten a great harvest out of their “table top farms.” Even if you are like me and NOT a mushroom fan (I usually avoid ‘shrooms at all costs), shiitakes are tolerable, and I have no doubt they would make a good, meaty soup base that won’t taste like mushrooms. However, unless I’m growing them myself, they can make a good dent in the pocketbook.
Back to the French onion soup–since I’m not a practicing vegetarian at this time, Sunday night I made a more normal French onion soup, only I put next to no effort in it.
For the “real” recipe–go to Foodie with Family’s link at the top of the post. For the lazy recipe, continue.
I had no suitable cheese for the soup, nor had I the patience to make the crouton topping, so this is my compromise:
Lazy French Onion Soup for 2
Adapted from Foodie with Family
2 packs of frozen caramelized onion (the size of sandwich Ziplocs)
1 500 ml tetrapack of chicken stock (or homemade veggie or chicken stock)
approx 1/4 cup of Better than Bouillon beef base (or your favorite beef or beef-style base)
A cheesy bagel, toasted (and buttered if you wish)
1. Put the onions, stock, and base in a saucepan. Cover and cook on high until just starting to bubble, stirring occasionally.
2. Pour into your bowl, serve with the bagel. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for an even easier lunch.