Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ron’s Cream of Onion Soup

The Northern Hemisphere’s cool, Autumn days call for comfort foods by the warmth of the fire, radiator, or TV set. When Ron and I had a craving for Cream of Onion Soup a few days ago, I prepared to make it the way I always do - with thinly sliced onions and a white-sauce base. I’ve never blogged that recipe because it’s so well known by that method. My Cream of Onion Soup is good - but not extraordinary. Ron has never complained about my way of making this soup - but nor has he ever raved over it.

And so it was, the other day, that Ron muscled me out of the kitchen to take command. I never mind taking off my apron: Name someone who does and I’ll suggest that person have a full psychiatric work-up. Please note: The photos that illustrate this recipe are Ron’s “man hands” - not mine!  

The relevance of that will become clear shortly, but first ... the recipe’s preamble!

What Ron invented in place of same-old, same-old, is the single best soup I’ve ever tasted. Worthy of a top chef, his soup isn’t even difficult to make! I feel certain that when I publish his recipe, restaurants will add it to their menus. That’s how outstanding this soup is! Ron’s recipe contains no added salt because the beef and chicken concentrates and Parmesan are salty enough. Nor is his recipe thickened with flour. The butter and cream do an excellent job of thickening soup + waistline on their own.

Ron’s Cream of Onion Soup:

½ c. butter (salted or unsalted, but not margarine)
2 very large onions, peeled and coarsely chopped 
1 scant tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. beef bouillon base (Ron used the “Better Than Bouillon” brand, but any quality product will do)
2 tbsp. powdered chicken stock base
¾ c. heavy cream (“whipping” cream)
2-to-3 tbsp. dry sherry, to taste
4 tbsp. commercial, shake-on Parmesan cheese

In a medium pan with a heavy bottom, melt butter at medium-low heat. Raise heat to high. Immediately add onions, stirring, uncovered, until partially cooked and well-coated with butter (see Note). Add garlic powder, pepper, bouillon base, and chicken base, continuing to stir after each addition for a total cooking time of 10 min. Slowly add cream, heating through and reducing heat to medium-low. Cover and cook a further 25 min., lowering heat if necessary. Stir occasionally, cooking until onions are tender. Add sherry shortly before serving. Ladle into bowls, sprinkling Parmesan over each. Yields 4 generous servings.

Note: Onions will not burn or caramelize because of the substantial amount of butter and because onions will begin to release their juices as they cook down and tenderize.

Here’s Ron at work! Ill let his big ol’ man hands tell the story: 

Onions! Two! Large! Capisce?

Chop coarsely.

Add to pot containing melted butter.

Stir. Then stir some more. And more, still.

Add beef base and other ingredients. Stir, stir, stir!

Mixture will be pleasantly golden.

Slowly add heavy cream.

Ladle into bowls ...

And finish with a flourish of Parmesan cheese.

As for those “man hands”? Jerry Seinfeld, we miss you!

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