White Onion Soup

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Search ‘onion soup recipes’ and you’ll find almost 6 million results…nearly all of them concerned with the French onion soup we’ve all grown to love. If the beefy, buttery, cheese-and-crouton soup is peasant food, then white onion soup is it’s long-lost, classy cousin. The two are in no way similar other than being soup and having a base of onions. The classic French onion soup calls for caramelized onions and beef broth while white onion soup calls for softened onions and cream. One is deep brown in color while the other is a pristine snow white palate. As far as flavor, white onion soup does taste of onions (obviously) but not overwhelmingly so while floral notes peak through a creamy, buttery base. It’s divine. And simple. Just a handful of ingredients are required to create a truly delightful bowl of soup. It’s a great meal on it’s own, paired with a salad, or as a starter for beef, lamb, and pork meals. Along with cream of celery, it’s one of my ‘go to’ soups. Even if you’re not crazy about onions, give white onion soup a try (just get those tissues ready-it’s a pile of onion to cut!).

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I couldn’t help it!

White Onion Soup

  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 3 pounds of onions, sliced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 2 TBSP grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt to taste

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. When the butter’s foam subsides, add the celery and cook until it begins to soften, a few minutes. Add the onion and cook until translucent and soft, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook the onions until they are very soft, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.

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The onions need to be very soft, but don’t let them brown.

Do not let the onion brown. Add the chicken stock and process in small batches in a blender until smooth (if you are using a regular blender, this may take 2-4 minutes per batch). Return the soup to the pot and add white pepper and cream. Heat thoroughly. Add 2 TBSP of parmesean. Salt to taste.

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This soup is so good on it’s own that you don’t need many accouterments. A little chive oil and peppercorn melange suits just fine.

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Roasted walnut oil, roasted beets, and red onion jam fit nicely too. Golden crunchy potato strings or cheesy croutons and white truffle oil would work as well.

My favorite additions are a dotting of chive oil and a sprinkling of peppercorn melange. We’ve also tried walnut oil, roasted beets, and red onion jam. I’m itching to try some crunchy potato strings or cheesy croutons and white truffle oil.

 

Nutrition per 8 oz. cup: Cal 212 kcal, Fat 15.1g, Sat Fat 9.7g, Chol 44.4mg, Carb 15.1g, Fiber 2.6g, Sugar 7.2g, Protein 5.3g

Onions have higher levels of tryptophan, B vitamins and vitamins A and C, copper, manganese, and phosphorus. Onions are a prebiotic and are high in polyphenols, expecially flavanoids like quercetin.

 

Caramelized Onions

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See those caramelized onions? Ok, so the egg and greens are a bit distracting…Go to the left of the egg, sitting right on top of the greens, nestled on top of the toast rounds/goat cheese…yep, there they are! Trust me, your taste buds will not miss these guys!

Look at that beautiful egg-check those out (and SO much more!) at Wishbone Heritage Farms. You won’t regret it!

Ok. I won’t lie to you. The process of caramelizing onions is a bit tedious. I mean, you have to cut up a ginormous amount of them, put ’em in a pan, stir them, give them more attention than I bestow on most folks, and waaaaiiiiitttt. BUT, they are so worth it. They’re like little candied onions. Tons of flavor and sweet. I almost can’t eat a pork loin without them. They’re great on a crostini with some goat cheese. Or you can mix them in with soups or try ’em with your creamy grits. My husband almost knocked me down one day when we were racing for the last bit of fluffy scrambled eggs with sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, and Muenster cheese. Luckily I practice my mental acuity games, thought on my feet, threw him a sharp elbow, and beat him to the pan. Then guilt kicked in and I shared. Dang conscience. Those caramelized onions would’ve been all mine! So, grab yourself a beverage of choice and a stool, park yourself in front of the stove, and make a huge batch so there’s enough to share and you don’t have to resort to childish shenanigans!

  • 6 Vidalia onions, thinly sliced and separated (any sweet onion will work; You can use others but may need to add a couple of pinches of sugar in the beginning)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 TBSP oil
  • Optional: 1/2 cup Marsala or Sherry wine (dry or sweet is your preference, depending on your intended use)

Heat 1 TBSP oil over medium heat in a pan large enough to accommodate your onions. Many will tell you that there should be a single layer, but I don’t have a pan the size of Texas and it still works. So, after the oil is hot, place in your onions and give them a toss to coat. If you’re using yellow or Spanish onions, add a couple of generous pinches of sugar here. Those onions have less natural sugar and can be harder to caramelize. Add the water to the pan and put on your lid (or some foil to capture steam). Let the onions steam a bit to soften up. Stir occasionally to avoid burning.

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Steam the onions a bit first to make their bulk a little more manageable. You’ll start with what seems like an insurmountable amount of onions and work your way down to a much smaller portion.

A golden brown or amber color on the edges is okay, black and charred is not tasty for this application. After the onions are a more manageable size (maybe 10 minutes or so), remove the cover. Remember that beverage and chair? Use them—this is gonna take a bit. Make sure the softened onions are in as much contact with the pan as possible if they can’t be in a single layer at this point.

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The onions are beginning to get their caramel on.

Every 5 minutes or so, check the color of the onions that are in contact with the pan by lifting up a few with a spatula. If they are that deep, golden brown (not burnt!), flip gently. Try not to break the onion skins when stirring or flipping as it can make the end result a bit stringy in my opinion. After flipping, get the onions situated in a single layer again, aaannndd wait. Keep checking and flipping as the color darkens. You’ll have to be more attentive as time progresses in order to avoid burning the onions. It can happen fast, so watch your heat and the time between flipping. For a big batch, the whole process can take around 40 minutes.

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This is about where I start wanting to pick at them because they smell so good! This is also the point where you can add flavorings like Marsala or Sherry or herbs like anise, rosemary, or black pepper. Try out herbs and flavorings that will complement your meal.

Depressingly, the vat of onions you started with condenses down, like the center of a black hole, to this super concentrated form of onion. They’re sweet and earthy and oniony at the same time. Never fear onion haters (Shane!), it’s not that sharp onion flavor, but much more mellow-like a grilled onion. These guys will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for a week or so-but I promise they won’t be around that long!

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Whew! You’re done! Delicious, flavorful caramelized onions. I promise you’ll start making up reasons to use these!!