I've had a couple of "red cabbage tantrums" that won't soon be forgotten.
This summer, the bountiful crop in my refrigerator has been the onion. I've amassed purplette cocktail onions, gold cippolines, blanco di maggio, Italian roasting onions, scallions, leeks, and Stockton Reds. They are more than a simple martini and tomato sandwich could tear through.
I decided to make onion soup, and destroy three or four pounds of alliums in one giant chop.
But I couldn't remember how to make the classic French recipe, and when I looked it up, it all seemed like such a bother... straining out all the herbs, the toast and melted cheese, the perfect beef broth, blah blah. Plus, I didn't even have many of the essential ingredients they asked for, like beef broth, parseley, etc.
Don't get me wrong, I love gourmet meals in the style of Louis the XIV— I would just rather loll around on my satin pillow while someone else prepares them.
So instead, I decided to make a "quick" onion soup that was more in the style of making hippie lentil stew... and was I ever in for a surprise.
This was the best thing I have made all summer. This was one of those "you will see God" type soups. Actually it was practically a jam, it was so caramelized. Furthermore, I know the secret of not makign yoruself sick with onion-crying
Are you ready for love? Here it is:
3 or 4 pounds onions, any kind
1 quart of broth, fresh or organic canned (I used chicken broth stored in my freezer for months)
1 or 2 c. Arugula
4 or 5 T. Basil
1 T. of olive oil
Half a stick of butter
1/3 bottle of red wine (Some merlot that was sitting around)
Get out your Cuisinart and put on the attachment they call the slicing disc. Stuff your onions in the tube and watch them get sliced to smithereens, without you shedding a tear. All you have to do is take the paper onionskin off first.
(Someone commented in this blog previously that a Cuisinart is a luxury item. I don't think it's any more a luxury item than a toaster or a coffeepot, and arguably more useful. There isn't a commercial kitchen in this country that operates without one. You can find them for as little as a dollar at a garage sale, and not much more at a discount shop.)
Melt the butter with a small amount of olive oil in a dutch oven. Add the sliced onions and cook down on medium high heat, stirring frequently. If you have to go out and make a phone call, just turn it down really low, and when you com eback to it, turn it up and keep stirring. You can do this several times, if you've got the time to keep making phone calls and talking to your neighbors and checking your email, which is what I did. The onions aren't going to fuck up on low heat.
Don't strain out any of the vegetables. You're going for a "jammy" look.
When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and then top with your favorite cheese: parmesan, Goat, gruyere. Or you might like Sour cream or yogurt, creme fraiche—oh, don't get me started, Sally!
You could add croutons, or just make butter yourself a nice slice of bread. You may not make it that far if you're too absorbed gulping spoonfuls out of the pot.