The other day, I watched the Food Network's Melissa d'Arabian prepare French Onion Soup on Ten Dollar Dinners. It looked so hearty and elegant, yet really simple. It inspired me to try it out, so I put on my vegan thinking cap and came up with this version. I really love onions, but have never caramelized an entire pot of them. It was definitely worth the hour-and-a-half wait to do this, because the taste was absolutely amazing: this was one rich, sweet and smoky soup. Fresh thyme is essential here—it really compliments the onion-infused broth and gives it a rustic and earthy feel.
3 large Vidalia onions
5 TB Earth Balance
1 TB flour
1/2 cup sherry
4 cups homemade vegetable stock
1 Not-Beef bouillon cube
5 springs of fresh thyme, tied with baker's twine
2 bay leaves
sliced baguette pieces, toasted
Daiya shreds, mozzarella-style
Start by slicing the ends off of the onions and peeling them. Slice them vertically in half, then slice each half thinly into half-moon shapes.
In a large dutch oven, melt the Earth Balance over medium-low heat. Add in the onion and sprinkle with some salt. Cover and let them sweat for 45 minutes.
Uncover, stir and sprinkle with a little more salt. Increase the heat to medium and saute for 45 minutes more, or until a rich caramelized color is achieved.
Sprinkle the onion with flour and stir well for about a minute. Add in the sherry to deglaze the pot and then throw in the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Slowly pour in the stock and add the Not-beef bouillon cube. Simmer for about 10 minutes more. Remove the bay leaves and thyme.
Ladle the soup into small crocks and place a toasted baguette on top. Sprinkle with some of the Daiya and place into a 400-degree oven to melt for about 7 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.