So long the bridesmaid, onions finally get their moment in the spotlight with this delicious and comforting winter soup.
One of the most versatile and popular root vegetables, onions ‘usually play the supporting role, but, this week, they take the lead.’
That lead is a phenomenal and warming creamy onion soup with caramelised-onion toast that will make your friends on the Continent say ooh la la. But it’s also worth updating some of the classic onion sides.
Why not try baked onion bhajis? Thinly slice four large onions. Add to a large bowl, toss with seasoning and leave to sit for 30 minutes. Squeeze the onions to release their liquid, then sprinkle over two tablespoons of grated ginger, two tablespoons of lemon juice, half a teaspoon each of chilli flakes and ground turmeric, one teaspoon of garam masala and 150g chickpea (gram) f lour. Mix well and add more lemon juice if the paste is too dry. Form balls in your hands — but take care not to firmly pack them—then place on oven trays lined with baking parchment or oiled foil. Bake at 180˚C for 40–45 minutes. Serve with chutney on the side.
Now, for that soup…
Recipe: Creamy onion soup with caramelised-onion toast
- 1kg brown onions, halved with skins on. Peel and thinly slice one for the toasts
- 2 garlic bulbs, sliced across
- 2 sprigs rosemary 3 sprigs thyme
- 3tbspn soft brown sugar, plus one more
- 300ml beef stock, hot 300ml whole milk, warmed
- 75ml double cream, warmed
- 4 slices buttered toast with crusts removed
- 50g grated cheese, Cheddar or Gruyère
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Preheat your oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4and prepare a roasting tray with a sheet of foil to cover it.
Halve the onions without peeling them and add them to the roasting tray cut side up. Add the peeled and thinly sliced onion to the tray, together with the halved garlic bulbs, then drizzle olive oil onto the cut side of the onions and garlic and sprinkle over the brown sugar. Add the rosemary and thyme sprigs, season everything and cover the whole tray wwith foil. Roast for 45–50 minutes.
Once roasted, remove the foil, discard the herbs and pop the onions (saving the sliced one) and garlic cloves out of their skins and into a blender, together with the warmed beef stock, milk and cream. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Take the thinly sliced onion and add it to a frying pan with a splash of olive oil and the extra spoonful of sugar. Cook for a few minutes to really caramelise, then set aside.
Top the buttered toast with the caramelised onion and grate over the cheese. Grill for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese.
Serve the hot soup with the cheese toast floating in the centre and finish with a few herbs.
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