In Our Kitchen: Recipe for Sweet Onion Soup with Caraway and Croutons
Ileana Morales Valentine | Special to the Times
This sweet onion soup is lighter than the classic French approach, topped with caraway and croutons rather than a lid of cheese.
It is soup season.
I love a ribollita with white beans and a handful of Tuscan kale. Or a comforting lentil and fennel sausage soup. The thought of onion soup usually takes me right to that classic French approach. French onion soup comes with a thick lid of broiled cheese and bread capping a brown, rich soup. But the newest cookbook in my collection, The Broad Fork: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruits, offers a lighter version of onion soup that elevates the humble onion.
For this sweet onion soup, we have butter and cream, but the thick cheese layer is replaced with rye croutons and caraway. A bundle of thyme, parsley and a bay leaf adds flavor and color to the mess of golden onions. In the end, the soup becomes silky smooth when everything gets blitzed together.
The recipe is easy to make and the ingredients are fairly simple. The results? I made the soup in the afternoon on a day off, and by that night, a soup that was supposed to serve six was greedily scooped up by two. My husband asked if there was any more soup, and I found him swirling a spatula around the sides of the pot to make sure not a drop was left.
The concoction is pale green and frothy, very pretty with a sprinkling of toasted caraway seeds and golden rye croutons. A small sprig of fresh parsley curved to the edge of the bowl adds color and freshness.
Ileana Morales Valentine lives in St. Petersburg with her husband. For more of their kitchen stories, visit her blog, ALittleSaffron.com. Say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2016 Tampa Bay Times
Sweet Onion Soup With Caraway and Croutons
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 ½ pounds sweet onions, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
1 cup celery, minced
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Coarse sea salt
Rye bread, diced into ½-inch cubes, about 1 cup
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted
In a heavy, medium-sized pot (I like to use my Dutch oven), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring regularly, until they become fragrant, golden and caramelized.
Add the celery and cook for
5 more minutes. Bundle up the thyme, parsley and bay leaf in some kitchen twine and toss that in, too. Add the chicken stock. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in the cream. Season the soup with a pinch of salt and remove the herb bundle. Remove the pot from the heat and get ready to puree. An immersion blender makes this easy work. Simply stick the blender in the pot and blitz everything until smooth. Or, set up your blender with a clean pot next to it. Rest a conical sieve in the empty pot. Arm yourself with a small ladle for pushing the soup through the sieve into said clean pot. Puree the soup in batches and pour it through the sieve into the empty pot. (You can omit the straining if you want to go in a more rustic direction.) Taste the soup and adjust seasoning with salt if necessary.
In a small bowl, toss the bread cubes with the olive oil. Place a handful in a small saute pan and toast over medium-high heat until crisp. Keep an eye on them. They go from golden brown to burnt quickly. Remove croutons from heat and set aside on a plate. Repeat with remaining bread cubes.
Ladle the hot soup into bowls and garnish each one with a pinch of toasted caraway seeds, croutons and a small sprig of parsley.
Serves 4 to 6.
Source: The Broad Fork: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruits by Hugh Acheson