There are millions of soup recipes and hundreds of cookbooks devoted just to soups.
I have to admit I am a soup junkie. In the colder months my lunch often consists of a bowl of soup.
I grew up helping my mom make chicken soup from scratch, starting with the stock. Back then chicken wings were as cheap as beef bones and only beef consomme sold in cans. You had to make your own stock.
For me, making a good old Jewish Chicken Soup required a whole day or preparation but there was enough for an army and I always froze a bunch.
Today making homemade soup is easy with the many stock & broth options available and a pretty good soup can make it from stove to table in an hour.
The Nudge likes soup but prefers a strong broth with a few brunoise of vegetables floating about. He's not a big fan of cream soups and while I am happy for dietary reasons, I do not look forward to making a clarified stock when I want to serve soup for dinner.
I have had success with a few thick soup options like Pasta Fagiole and Bisque's, oh, and this soup, for some reason. While there is a minuscule amount of milk, once the onions are pureed, the broth is sweet with lots of flavor and takes on a creamy texture.
We all know onions are used as a aromatic and are instrumental in the making of the Holy Trinity, a Mirepoix and a Soffritto/Battuto, but did you know that eaten as the hero, their flavors can vary from sweet and juicy with a mild flavor to sharp, spicy, and pungent, often depending on the season in which they are grown and consumed. It is estimated that 105 billion pounds of onions are harvested each year worldwide.
They are also full of nutrition.
"Onions are a nutrient-dense food, meaning that while they are low in calories they are high in beneficial nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. One cup of chopped onion contains approximately 64 calories, 15 grams of carbohydrate, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of cholesterol, 3 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein and 10% or more of the daily value for vitamin C, vitamin B-6 and manganese. Onions also contain small amounts of calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium and the antioxidants quercetin and sulfur."
Well, if you an imagine the taste of caramelized onions on steroids, you should make this soup. If you aren't buying that, then make it for the leftovers. I usually end up with 2 cups and if you plan it right, sitting next to the soup should also be a container of roasted cauliflower.
This soup will make any "yucky" vegetable taste wonderful and no one will even know it's in there and you have the secret of next week's soup already done. If your cauliflower just happens to be gratinéed then all the better.
Obviously this is called Seven Onion Soup for a reason but I have been making this for so many years, the exact measurements of each onion are long forgotten. All you need to know is that 6 of the 7 have an amount of 1. The 7th is the scallion garnish.
The other great thing about this soup, knife work is inconsequential, everything gets puréed in the end.
While a basket of dinner rolls, sliced artisan bread or bread sticks add some bulk to the meal, I opted to make a bread crouton with Swiss cheese broiled on top.
Let's get cooking......
Seven Onion Soup
original recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse
makes 1.5 quarts
* Olive oil
* 4 garlic cloves, chopped
* 1 red onion, chopped
* 1 Spanish onion, chopped
* 1 sweet onion, chopped
* 1 white onion, chopped
* 1 shallot, chopped
* 1 bunch of scallions, green & white parts separated
* 1 leek, soaked, cleaned and chopped, white and lite green part only
* 1 large carrot, chopped
* 1 quart low sodium chicken stock
* Cheese rind (optional)
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
* 2 tablespoons pancetta or bacon, chopped
* 1/4 cup whole milk or light cream (optional)
1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot. Saute the garlic until you can smell it.
2. Add the pancetta (or bacon) and saute until it starts to brown but not burnt.
3. Add all the onions (the white part of the scallions), the carrots, the bay leaf, thyme and salt & pepper. Saute on low heat, stirring every 10 minutes, until the vegetables brown with flavor, about 40 minutes.
5. Add the chicken stock and the cheese rind. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
6. Remove the bay and rind and remove from the heat. Once the soup has cooled, puree in a blender or with an immersion blender.
7. Reheat before serving, add the milk and serve with a sprinkle of the green scallions tops and a toasted Swiss cheese crouton (optional).
If you omit the pork and dairy, this soup is Vegan, no croutons makes it Gluten Free, Paleo and Diabetic friendly
A very nice hot soup for the recent vortex that hit us this week.
So, after marrying this with my cauliflower gratin to make another soup for Monday, I eventually use the last drop as a sauce for a solo tasty pasta dish while The Nudge is in Baltimore.
When I can plan 5 meals with virtually no prep, I am one happy camper.