Sunday, May 15, 2011

Roasted Vidalia Onion Soup ...

Today is made for soup.

Because it is grey. And because it is rainy. And because it is blustery. And because it is, in comparison to the week's earlier 90-degree temperatures, cold. And because I had a crisper drawer covered in individually paper-towel-wrapped Vidalia onions. And what does one do with that many Vidalia onions on a grey, rainy, blustery, cold day?

One finds a recipe for soup.

And since I love roasted onions and since I had everything on hand, I opted for Roasted Vidalia Onion Soup, as the title of this post telegraphs so cleverly.

I had a more romantic notion of making soup today, me and my Santoku knife, slicing and dicing. My Le Creuset on the stove, full of soup, simmering away.

Instead, this recipe happens entirely in the oven until the finished soup cools a bit and is pureed. I used my blender. You can use a food processor. I have both. But the blender is easier to clean.

This soup is lovely, sweetly oniony from the onions that are sweet to begin with and get sweeter as they cook down in the oven. I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil, because that's what I keep on hand. And I used dried thyme instead of fresh. And I used chicken base instead of canned broth. Oh, and I used far more than 1 teaspoon of garlic, because using one teaspoon of garlic is like using no garlic at all. And I roasted the onions for far longer than the 50 minutes suggested in the recipe. Perhaps the chef intended cooks to cut the onions into thinner wedges. Or perhaps 50 minutes is all it takes in a commercial oven pumping out many BTUs. So I let them go longer, which was fine. It's not like I was yearning to be outside.

And I'm very happy with the end result.

If ever a soup called out for a garnish, this one would be that soup. And I think a handful of croutons at the last minute would be a nice textural contrast to the meltingly sweet onions and supple quality of the olive oil. But I don't keep croutons on hand. So I opened the fridge and my eyes fell on the hunk of Parmesan and I thought to myself, "Is there ever such a thing as too much Parmesan? No, there is not," as I used a vegetable peeler to create a pile of curls.

And, of course, Parmesan is a lovely addition to this soup. Because Parmesan is a lovely addition to everything.

So if you find yourself with more Vidalia onions than you can possibly ever know what to do with, try this. The prep is minimal, the effort is minimal, and the result is worth it, exponentially.

By the by, I didn't make the cream version because I didn't have cream in the house. And frankly, even if I did, having tried the non-cream version, I wouldn't bother. This is pleasantly rich as it is, especially if you add a bit of Parmesan cheese. I think cream would make it too rich. But that's just me.

Roasted Vidalia Onion Soup
by Banquet Chef Karl Krebs of The Ritz Carlton, Buckhead, in Atlanta.

Roasting gives Vidalias an even richer flavor in this onion soup.

3 large (about 3 pounds) Vidalia Onions, peeled and cut in wedges (13 cups)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cans (13-3/4 ounces each) ready-to-serve chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped chives

Preheat oven to 425F. Place a 13 × 9 × 2-inch baking pan in oven for 5 minutes. Add Vidalia Onions; sprinkle with oil, stirring to coat. Bake uncovered, until Vidalia Onions are very tender and golden, stirring twice, about 50 minutes. Stir in garlic; bake until garlic softens slightly, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf and red pepper; stir to combine. Cover tightly with foil; bake 20 minutes to blend flavors. Remove foil and bay leaf; cool slightly. Place half in the bowl of a food processor or in a container of an electric blender; process until onions are coarsely pureed; repeat with remaining mixture. Serve hot, garnished with chives.

Cream of Roasted Vidalia Onion Soup: Just before serving, stir 1/3 cup warm heavy cream into the pureed soup.


Blogger angelo said...

SOUP! Love it. It's almost cold enough here for soup. Almost. Happy Monday.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Barring really warm temperatures, I'm always up for soup. And on the really warm days, there's always chilled soup. Or, better yet, ice-cream soup!

Happy Monday to you, too. Go forth and find soup.

7:18 AM  

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