Miso French Onion Soup is the perfect balm for the rest of February, as we wait for Spring.
We are all like Persephone, when it comes to living through winter. A friend of mine who grew up in Canada says they call February the month of discouragement, and I agree with that characterization. However, my friend cheers me up regarding the difficulty of getting through February, by reminding me that it is also the shortest month, and March is coming soon. While I am waiting for March and Spring, I thought I would make this recipe for Miso French Onion Soup, to warm me through the end of these cold days.
Last week, mother nature gave us a couple of warmer days, to give us some hope. The sky was blue and the light was sharp and brilliant. One of those days the temperature reached a high of 60 degrees. I immediately went outside to tend my garden. My long down sleeping bag of a coat was put aside. I wore only a sweatshirt to keep me warm. Dead leaves that I had missed back in October during my fall clean-up were picked up, and I used a putty knife to clean some moss off of a brick pathway. A blue jay rewarded my labors with it's presence. Hidden under some of the leaves, a blooming snow drop greeted me. But now it is back to being colder and the light in the sky is grayer. No better time than now, for making this recipe for Miso French Onion Soup.
At first I picked out an onion soup recipe by Deborah Madison, that required 1 to 2 Cups of a full bodied red wine. I kept procrastinating making it, until I realized that the recipe did not appeal to me. Perhaps I had picked that one to avoid other recipes that required beef and chicken broths as a base, either from a box, or home made. The home made would be work intensive. The boxed broths did not appeal, either.
I wanted to make an onion soup that would be restorative and healthy. When I located this recipe for an onion soup that included miso, I felt that I had found my woman, so to speak. This is an easy peasy one. The most labor intensive part of the recipe is thinly slicing the onions. If you have a Cuisinart with a blade that slices, you may finish this task in minutes. Then it is just a matter of sauteing the onions for about 25 minutes, adding water, thyme and the miso. I did not bother broiling the cheese that tops the dish, in oven proof bowls. Instead, I essentially made grilled cheese with some 8 grain baguette I had in the fridge, for this is "cooking the kitchen," after all. Then I nestled the finished pieces among the onions and broth in the soup bowl.
I hope you will try this recipe for Miso French Onion Soup. When you eat your soup, you may pretend that you are in a small bistro in Paris, with old school waiters who wear white aprons that go down to the ankles, secured by apron strings that go around waists at least two times, before tied at the back. Play some Edith Piaf in the background, and enjoy!
Miso French Onion Soup
Try this vegetarian onion soup.
- ¼ cup + 1T olive oil
- 2-½ lbs. large Spanish onions, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced (about 4 Cups) (Note: I substituted red onions)
- 8 diagonal slices of baguette, about ¼ inch thick
- ⅓ cup miso (I used white miso)
- 1 T finely chopped fresh thyme, optional
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large slices Swiss cheese
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add ¼ cup olive oil, and heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring constantly and adjusting heat as needed, until the onions are soft and deep golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow onions to cool in the pan.
Brush both sides of the bread slices with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake, turning once, until just crisp, about 4 minutes a side. Remove from oven and set aside.
Pour 3 cups of water into a 2 quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Add miso, thyme, and cooked onions; mix well. Simmer and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Preheat a broiler. Place a large oven-proof serving bowl or four small oven-proof bowls on a broiling pan or small baking sheet. Pour the hot soup into the large bowl or divide among the small bowls. Place the croutons on top of the soup and top with Swill cheese slices. Place the pan holding the soup directly under the broiler until the cheese is melted, and the soup is bubbling. Serve immediately.