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01 April 2009
It's officially been spring here for at least a week—crocuses are taking over Connecticut and the birds won't shut up. That means it's finally time for me to lose my extra winter poundage, and I'm doing it by combining a lot of exercise with low-fat veganism until my birthday, May 20th. I will only make an exception for Shabbat challah.
To kick off this diet and celebrate Doug's birthday, I made Onion Sonata, a soup adapted from The Voluptuous Vegan (my special occasion cookbook) by Myra Kornfeld. Kornfeld should probably have called it Onions Waiting for Godot because this soup takes more than 3 hours to make. A Labor of Love or Act of Atonement? Either way it's worth it.
I'm pretty sure that Myra Kornfeld is the most masterful recipe composer since the Dawn of Humanity. Onion Sonata is a perfect example of her vibrant artistry. This vegan—vegan!!—soup tastes 10 times better than the real French Onion version. It doesn't taste healthy but neither does it taste unhealthy; it's voluptuous and rich, Allium's golden colors emerging one by one then melding soulfully together.
The original recipe requires chives and scallions as well, but by the end of the recipe I'm exhausted and frankly the soup is still amazing without them. If you're not going to go out and buy her revelatory cookbook immediately, you can try making a version of your own. (This is a very filling soup, so please don't serve steak and macaroni and cheese and banana splits alongside. Thank you.)
Make a stock from a lot of vegetables, potatoes, parsley, leek greens, thyme, soy sauce, brown lentils, and 15 Cups of water. Cook 45 minutes and strain.
Meanwhile, very very slowly saute 14 to 15 thinly sliced Cups of the onion family: a head of garlic, shallots, leeks, yellow onions. After a long long time (15 minutes after you've fallen asleep on your feet) add the stock, some soy sauce, some molasses, salt and pepper, and simmer another half hour or so.
For each bowl of soup, toast 3 slices French baguette and rub sliced raw garlic on each slice. Ladle the soup over the bread. Serve with hankies.