Thursday, February 3, 2011

Onion soup

It has been quite a week. Our classes are cancelled for the rest of the day for impending "wintry mix," so since I don't have seminars and choir practice, I figured I'd post a soup recipe instead. Since my last post, my diet has gotten back on track, and I feel lighter and more chipper. I have eaten a lot of good soup since then. This is an onion soup I made because I had some lightly sparkling wine that went flat and didn't taste very good, and of course I always have onions around. The wine imparted a nice sweetness and acidity to this onion soup. In this picture, I served this soup with bread that had cheese melted on it and some leftover roasted buttercup squash. It was a great cold weather meal.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store for the first time since January 18. This is probably the longest I've gone between grocery shops since I started grad school. (I did spend a few days in Chicago in the middle there, and I was in Dallas last weekend, so it's not quite as impressive as it sounds.) My freezer had gotten to an untenable place. I think with Jon gone, I get it in my mind that I should make lots of food, freeze the leftovers, and then eat those when I don't have time to cook. It makes sense, except that cooking is an important part of my day, and I am just in the habit of making time for it. So the leftovers accumulate in the freezer until I can't open it without a rain of tupperware. I decided that I needed to stop stockpiling and eat through the leftovers. Since January 18th, I have eliminated 1 quart of sweet potato soup, 1 quart of butternut squash soup, 2 cups of corn chowder, 1 1/2 quarts of pineapple rice pilaf, 2 cups of other rice pilaf, and 1/2 poud of tofu from the freezer, along with some frozen vegetables. (That's not all I've eaten; there were leftovers in the fridge too.) I have also discovered the amazing stay-fresh-ability of lettuce. I bought a head of red-leaf lettuce on January 18, and I'm still working through it. (I haven't been eating quite as many salads as usual; maybe one every other day.) I feel very accomplished now, but I'm also yearning to cook. Tonight I'm making a tortilla soup-like concoction. I shouldn't say tortilla soup because I'm not frying tortillas and adding them. But it's a Southwest flavor soup with pinto beans and tomatoes, garnished with queso fresco and avocado. If it's good, I'll write about it here. Now for your regularly scheduled soup recipe.

Onion soup
Makes about 4 servings

2 tbsp butter
6 cups thinly sliced white onions (1 1/2 large ones; my supermarket has really big onions)
1 cup white wine
1 quart vegetable broth
Thyme and oregano sprigs
2 bay leaves
parmesan cheese for garnishing, optional

Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they are caramelized and soft. I think this took about 30 minutes for me. It's OK if they get a few burnt bits, but don't let them burn completely. Deglaze the pan with wine, add the broth and herbs, and bring to a boil. Simmer until you're ready to eat. I don't think it really matters how long. Garnish with grated parmesan if that is your desire.

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