not chantal's onion soup (roasted garlic and onion cream soup)

Once upon a time there was a pretty young Italian lady named Chantal of Italian expatriate-parents-in-France descent and she was a marvelous cook. We so looked forward to our rare opportunities to dine in her kitchen in Rome and always enjoyed whatever her imagination treated us to on each such occasion. She made a heavenly smooth pureed onion soup several times once she learned how much we liked it. Something related to the French influence in her life. And so simple to make—something like one onion and one cup of water per person plus ... well, we'll never know the rest. bob has trouble retaining simple pieces of information and never wrote it down and then suddenly at 39 Chantal was no more. And her recipe gone forever. Perhaps a fitting sacrifice that we can only dream of that soup and not actually make it without being able to share it with her.

This is not that soup. But it is a pureed onion soup and we are big garlic fans so this combination makes us happy campers. We'd tried it many years earlier in our early newlywed phase and liked it. Then a Neiman Marcus lunch pureed Vidalia onion soup hit the mark with ani one day and we put this project back on the to-do list. A family dinner provided the excuse and it lived up to the expectations set by the first trial run.

ingredients

root group
4 large onions (we used 2/3 lb Vidalia onions), cut into 1/2 inch slices [or 3 yellow onions plus 1 leek]
2 heads garlic (we used big cloves, big heads), cloves separated and peeled
1 large potato, peeled and cubed [optional]
2 c veggie stock (2 c boiling water plus 3 level t Plantaforce veggie paste)
1 1/2 t dried thyme [or fresh!]
1 t coarsely ground black pepper (our pepper mill is one size fits all...)
1 t coarse (Kosher) salt
3 T unsalted butter
additional liquid group
2 c lowfat milk [or 1 c light cream plus 1 c half and half]
1 t salt to taste
1/2 – 1 c or more veggie stock as needed for desired consistency/thickness (as above)
garnishing
2 T chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley and/or 2 T chopped fresh chives

instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Place the chopped onions and garlic (and optional potato) in a shallow roasting pan and add 2 cups of the veggie stock. Sprinkle with the root group spices and dot with butter.
  3. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1.5 hours. Stir once or twice during baking phase. You'll want to do this just to get a wiff of the smell this produces.
  4. Remove pan from oven and put into a flat bottomed pot to puree with a hand blender until smooth. Then mix in the additional liquids and puree it together a bit.
  5. Now you can wait until dinner, if you do this stuff ahead of time. When ready to go, taste to correct seasonings if you can, and reheat without allowing the soup to boil. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve.

notes

  1. Serves about 6 as an appetizer soup.
  2. This is a variation from The New Basics Cookbook.
  3. After not seeing it on their shelves for a few years, we had to wait a while till our local health food store order list met the minimum order for the suppliers of Plantaforce veggie broth paste [A. Vogel Plantaforce concentrated vegetable bouillon from Switzerland; USA exclusive distributors: Rapunzel Pure Organics, 2424 SR-203,Valatie, NY 12186, tel: 800-207-2814]. Now we're well stocked again. The original had chicken broth of course, but we like to make this small change to pretend to be vegetarians when we can.
  4. This seems like as good a place as any to take a hit on typical French onion soup in America. Murky brown liquid with onion strips packed like dead fish under a glob of stringy melted cheese that tops them off like a plastic pool cover. Maybe ripping off the cheese and food processing would improve this mess. Probably not. Did I forget the soggy bread? Why can't we see a little more imagination out there with the onion soup business?
  5. Illustrations available.
grlconsp.htm: 16-feb-2011 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]