It’s been a very mild winter in Austin, but it finally got chilly Sunday and we even had some styrofoam-like snow in the afternoon. I love winter months because I like eating hearty soups, and nothing feels more comforting than having a hot bowl of soup on a cold gray winter day.

As I was scanning my pantry for ingredients that I already have, I noticed these Vidalia Onions that I’ve had for a while, and the thought popped into my head to make French Onion soup. I have never made, nor have had french onion soup, mainly because I thought a soup composed of onions must be pretty boring. My boyfriend got me a French cooking book a while ago, and the recipe looked pretty interesting. I also had a pack of fresh shitake mushrooms left over from the Vegan Enchiladas I made the other night, so I decide to adapt the recipe into a French onion and mushroom soup.

The basics of the French onion soup is to sweat thinly sliced onions in some butter or olive oil on low heat for 30-40 minutes until the onions are lightly browned. I added the mushrooms about 10 minutes into the onion cooking process, since I think mushrooms takes slightly shorter time to brown than onions.

After about 30 minutes, your onions should be translucent and very pliable, and your mushrooms should be very soft as well. Keep cooking until you see brown spots on either the onions or the mushrooms like below.

I added about 4 cups of vegetarian broth into the mushroom/onion mixture, and let that sit for about 15 minutes on medium low heat.

The recipe called for the onion mushroom soup to be pureed in a food processor, but I personally prefer being able to eat bite sized mushrooms and onions with my soup, so I only pureed half of the onion mushroom soup and mixed the whole pieces of vegetables back in afterwards. It’s important to taste, and season the soup at this point.

The finished soup is ladled into individual soup bowls or large ramekins, topped with toasted pieces of bread and sliced grueyer cheese, and popped into the oven to broil for about 5 minutes. You want to watch the cheese on top carefully because it’s easy to burn the toast and cheese.

The cheesy toast on the top of the soup actually turned out to be my favourite part of the dish, it was crunch near the surface but soft and juicy on the bottom where it soaks up the onion soup. It is definitely something I would make again. I served the onion soup with some corned beef reuben sandwichs and pared it with a fruity Pinot Noir.

The French onion mushroom soup is vegetarian by it self, and I could definitely have eaten it with some chunky hot bread and called it a meal.

The French onion soup recipe I used is from the Complete Robuchon cookbook.

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