Saturday, October 4, 2008

Colorado Onion Sage Soup



Colorado Onion Sage Soup

Serves 8: if you’re sharing

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, or extra olive oil
5-6 sprigs fresh sage, 30-35 leaves, save 16 for garnish
5 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
8 Large Colorado sweet onions, peeled, and thinly sliced, pole to pole (slice root to stem, and not along the equator, which will give you half circles and we don’t want those).
1 cup Sauvignon Blanc*
* (Or omit this step and add a squeeze of lemon or balsamic vinegar at the end)
1 bay leave
6 whole peppercorns
2 quarts good quality beef, chicken or vegetable stock
Kosher of Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Black pepper
8 thick slices of stale bread, toasted
5-6 ounces firm Colorado cheese (Windsor, Haystack, or Mouco)

Over medium heat, add butter or olive oil to a 5 quart, heavy bottom stockpot (it should have a lid for later use). When butter begins to bubble, add 30 or more sage leaves to the pot and stir gently and fry sage for at least 2 minutes. Remove 16 sage leaves and drain them on a paper towel, reserve for garnish.

Next add minced garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, add all of your onions, about 2 teaspoons of kosher salt (if you HAVE to use regular salt, decrease to 1 teaspoon) and several good grinds of fresh pepper. Give the whole thing a good stir, making sure all the onions are coated with butter/oil.

Turn the heat to LOW and cover the pot with a lid. These onions will need to caramelize very slowly, and it should take about 45-60 minutes. Stir the onions every 10-15 minutes. Once the onions begin to release liquid, take off the lid and turn the heat up to medium, and wait for the liquid to evaporate. This step takes a while. If you caramelize your onions any faster, you are not going to have the depth of flavor we need. The term “low and slow” means LOW AND SLOW… If you find the bottom of pan starts to “color”, this is a good sign, just keep stirring, You may add a few tablespoons of water if you are worried.

When your onions become a deep rich color (think cigar), turn your heat to medium, add your wine and reduce the wine volume by one half (or cook until you no longer smell the alcohol). Next, add your stock, peppercorns, and bay leaf and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste, add additional salt and pepper, and the squeeze of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar if you did not use the wine.

To Serve: Preheat oven boiler**. Using oven safe bowls or mugs; ladle soup into mugs, top with toasted slice bread and a few tablespoons of your favorite cheese. Place soup under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from broiler and top with each bowl with two fried sage leaves, notice how mild they taste once they are fried.

** Skip putting bowls under the broiler, by simply placing toast topped w/cheese, on a sheet pan, in a hot oven or broiler. Melt cheese and place toast over soup, garnish as directed.
***Soup freezes well.


Jenn said...

Dear Chef Deb,
We loved the onion soup at home! It was simple but complex-tasting, smooth, sweet, and tangy. Dave could be heard slurping between ooohs and ahhhs! Thanks for another great offering! it turned out great!

It was so great to see you today. We'll miss you this winter, but see you 'round the blogosphere!

Jenn and Dave

Deb T. said...

Dear Jenn and Dave,
Slurping is always a good sign! It is hard to believe that a humble onion can make such an amazing soup.
You have officially mastered the basic technique of slow caramelization. Good job Jenn! Tell Dave I am working on his "Poker night" menu.....

Chef Deb T.