Served here with freshly baked crusty, gluten free bread, roasted spinach and a white miso mornay. This makes 4 small bowls, 2 large ones.
For the soup
2 large sweet onions (about 6 cups loose), thinly sliced
1T herbes de Provence, rubbed
1 ‘spring’ dried kombu (about 2″)
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups mushroom stock
1/4t black pepper, freshly cracked
2T coconut oil
1/4 cup tamari
1T fresh garlic, minced
1t smoked paprika
2T arrowroot powder dissolved in 2T cold water
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste
For the garnish
1 – 2 slices stale bread (baguette or similar), per serving
2 cups baby spinach
For the mornay
1/2 cup unsweetened plant milk (I use soy)
1/2T white pickling vinegar
1T unpastuerized sauerkraut
1/2T fresh garlic, minced
1/4t coarse sea salt
1/2 – 1T white miso (start with half, add more to taste)
1T arrowroot flour dissolved in 1T cold water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Coarse sea salt to taste
Optional: For something more traditional, saute the onion, herbs and spices and dust with 2T whole wheat flour and/or add 1/2 cup good red wine. If you have oven proof soup bowls, broil the assembled soup a little for a more traditional presentation. I add 1t smoked paprika for colour and flavour. Add some cashew butter to the mornay for a richer mouth feel.
The bread here is a yeasted combination of chickpea and other gluten free flours. But use baguette, ciabatta or other thinly sliced, plant-only bread. What matters is the weight.
Add the onions to the slowcooker. Cook on high for 6 hours or until the onions are reduced to about 2 cups and caramelized. Add the remaining ingredients up to but not including the arrowroot. Cover and simmer another 2 hours. Adjust times to suit your slowcooker. When ready, remove the kombu. Stirring continuously, add the arrowroot mixture slowly. Stir to mix thoroughly, and then periodically until the soup thickens.
While the soup thickens, roast the spinach and prepare the mornay. Preheat the oven to 300F. Add the spinach in a thin even layer to a shallow roasting pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until the spinach is lightly wilted. It should be airy and dry.
With the spinach started, make the mornay. In a small sauce pan on medium heat Bring everything up to but not including the arrowroot mixture to a light simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Puree smooth. Return the pan to a simmer. Remove from heat.
Working quickly, add the miso and nutritional yeast. Stir until dissolved. Stirring continuously, add the arrowroot mixture and stir until it thickens. Add the nutritional yeast and stir to combine. Don’t reheat the pan unless the arrowroot doesn’t thicken, and then keep the temperature as low as you can (arrowroot thickens before boiling). Season to taste. Set aside to cool while the spinach finishes up.
To plate, season the soup to taste and ladle out. Add the spinach in a thin even layer to the top of the soup. Add the bread in a thin even layer. To add the mornay, scrape small amounts from a spoon onto the top of the soup (it will be quite thick — thicker that you would normally expect for mornay). Be careful not to add too much in any particular area to avoid drowning the bread. Sprinkle with additional nutritional yeast if you like and serve.