VEGETARIAN FRENCH ONION SOUP  (prep time about 30 minutes)

Welcome to this week's Foodie Friday! This time, it's vegetarian but as tasty as the classic French Onion Soup without the beef stock. One of the easiest soups on the planet to make!

1 Tb. Each, butter & olive oil

2 C sliced onion. (Make it more flavorful by using a combination of onion varieties (red, yellow, Vidalia & shallots)

¼ tsp. celery seed

2 cloves of garlic, minced

½ C. white wine

4 C. vegetable stock

2 C. water

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. dried sage

½ C. grated parmesan cheese

2 Tb. Soy sauce

Cracked black pepper to taste

Baguette bread sliced at an angle into 1” thick ovals

Sliced provolone cheese

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add sliced onions and celery seed. Saute' until the onions start to caramelize, about 15 minutes.  Add garlic and continue to sauté until the garlic is just tender but not brown.  Deglaze pan with the white wine, stirring the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Stir in the vegetable stock, water, salt, sage and bring to a simmer.  Stir in parmesan cheese until the cheese is melted.  Stir in cracked black pepper to taste. For a deeper, ‘beef-like’ flavor add soy sauce until the taste is right.  Turn down heat to a low simmer.  While the soup continues to simmer, toast both sides of the bread rounds and heat the broiler.  (If you are using a toaster oven and just serving small batches, you can just switch over to the broiler from toast after the bread is done for the final assembly.

Spoon soup into oven-safe bowls or soup crocks, making sure you get a good amount of the onion. Place one or two bread rounds in the soup and top with the provolone cheese. Place bowls under the broiler until the cheese is melted. (You could melt the cheese over the top in the microwave, but you won't get the browning on top, of course.)  Put on serving plates to present. Remember the bowls will be hot!

*Kitchen gadget tip:  you can really slice the time off slicing the onions and reduce the tears if you use a mandolin.  It looks like a plank with a slit in the middle were a very sharp blade is seated. You  have to be SUPER cautious using this tool. Matt Lauer from NBC sliced the tip off one of his fingers live on TV a couple years ago since he wasn’t paying close enough attention.  If you are careful, it is a really nice tool for all sorts of slicing jobs.