Art and Food…Do you love onions? We do! They are beautiful and add a sweetness to so many recipes. Fall feels like the beginning of hot soup weather….so… Fun Food Friday this week is Onion Soup! Milly and Tilly love to cook for greetings and gatherings. In case you don’t remember, they are the official greeting committee of Botaniumus. A lot of Onion Soup calls for beef booth, and that is just fine and dandy if you like that, and eat it, Milly and Tilly always wanting to include everyone, thought it would be nice to find a recipe and point out that Beef Stock IS interchangeable with Veggie Stock.
From “Jammie Oliver, beef stock/chick OR VEGGIE stock in this one.
Towards the end he mentions “get hold of as many different types of onion for this soup as you can – you need about 1kg (about 2.25 pd.) in total. Sweat them gently and you’ll be amazed at all the flavours going on.”
I can’t emphasize enough how great that can make onion soup. I tried it years ago and never looked back!
© David Loftus — Photo from Jamie Oliver Website
• a good knob of butter and olive oil
• a good handful of fresh sage leaves, 8 leaves reserved for serving
• 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
• 5 red onions, peeled and sliced
• 3 large white onions, peeled and sliced
• 3 banana shallots***, peeled and sliced (“regular’ shallots would be fine too – but I would add a few extras for banana shallots are larger-see bottom)
• 300g (1/2 to 3/4 pd) , trimmed, washed and sliced
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 litres (2.11 quarts which is 8.5 cups ) good-quality hot beef, chicken or vegetable stock
• 8 slices of good-quality stale bread, 2cm (about 3/4″) thick
• 200g (.44 pd) freshly grated Cheddar cheese
• Worcestershire sauce method
There’s something so incredibly humble about onion soup. It’s absolutely one of my favourites but unfortunately I only ever get to make it in the restaurant or for myself as the missus thinks she’s allergic to onions. (She’s not, because I whiz them up into loads of dishes without her knowing!)
If you have the opportunity, get hold of as many different types of onion for this soup as you can – you need about 1kg (approx. 2.25 pd.) in total. Sweat them gently and you’ll be amazed at all the flavours going on.
Put the butter, 2 glugs of olive oil, the sage and garlic into a thick-bottomed, non-stick pan. Stir everything round and add the onions, shallots and leeks. Season with salt and pepper. Place a lid on the pan, leaving it slightly ajar, and cook slowly for 50 minutes, without colouring the vegetables too much. Remove the lid for the last 20 minutes – your onions will become soft and golden. Stir occasionally so that nothing catches on the bottom. Having the patience to cook the onions slowly, slowly, gives you an incredible sweetness and an awesome flavour, so don’t be tempted to speed this bit up.
When your onions and leeks are lovely and silky, add the stock. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. You can skim any fat off the surface if you like, but I prefer to leave it because it adds good flavour.
Preheat the oven or grill to maximum. Toast your bread on both sides. Correct the seasoning of the soup. When it’s perfect, ladle it into individual heatproof serving bowls and place them on a baking tray. Tear toasted bread over each bowl to fit it like a lid. Feel free to push and dunk the bread into the soup a bit. Sprinkle with some grated Cheddar and drizzle over a little Worcestershire sauce.
Dress your reserved sage leaves with some olive oil and place one on top of each slice of bread. Put the baking tray into the preheated oven or under the grill to melt the cheese until bubbling and golden. Keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t burn! When the cheese is bubbling, very carefully lift out the tray and carry it to the table. Enjoy.”
Thanks to JamieOliver.com for this one!
*** Banana shallots are a variety of shallots and are the largest under the shallot kingdom. A sandy soil and warmer conditions are ideal for growth of banana shallots. It is named such because of its size. They have a smooth, pale brown skin and are milder/ sweet subtle in flavour than other types. Since they are larger in size, they are easier to peel, chop and use in recipes when compared to their counterparts. …They are a perfect substitute for onions or shallots in recipes which call for a sweet subtle flavour.
· Use chopped banana shallots in soups, stocks, broths and sauces.
· They are perfect for roasting with vegetables, meats etc. “
Again, please note that the origin of this recipe is Jammie Oliver. He has done great strides in the Healthy Eating Movement Thanks Jamie.
Jamie’s ”food philosophy”
My philosophy to food and healthy eating has always been about enjoying everything in a balanced, and sane way. Food is one of life’s greatest joys yet we’ve reached this really sad point where we’re turning food into the enemy, and something to be afraid of. I believe that when you use good ingredients to make pasta dishes, salads, stews, burgers, grilled vegetables, fruit salads, and even outrageous cakes, they all have a place in our diets. We just need to rediscover our common sense: if you want to curl up and eat macaroni and cheese every once in a while – that’s alright! Just have a sensible portion next to a fresh salad, and don’t eat a big old helping of chocolate cake afterwards.
Knowing how to cook means you’ll be able to turn all sorts of fresh ingredients into meals when they’re in season, at their best, and cheapest! Cooking this way will always be cheaper than buying processed food, not to mention better for you. And because you’ll be cooking a variety of lovely things, you’ll naturally start to find a sensible balance. Some days you’ll feel like making something light, and fresh, other days you’ll want something warming and hearty. If you’ve got to snack between meals, try to go for something healthy rather than loading up on chocolate or potato crisps. Basically, as long as we all recognize that treats should be treats, not a daily occurrence, we’ll be in a good place. So when I talk about having a ‘healthy’ approach to food, and eating better I’m talking about achieving that sense of balance: lots of the good stuff, loads of variety, and the odd indulgence every now and then. -http://www.jamieoliver.com/philosophy