In no way do I claim this soup to be traditional nor the best. I’m sure there are many wonderful, much more refined recipes out there. But this, in its own small corner of the blogosphere, was a wonderful soup. Ben, who was sick and who’s not one for soup, liked it very much, which I took as lovely and high compliment. It’s so easy and costs so little, but yet is the taste of nourishment (for those chillier nights when you’re under the weather), and yet so easy to dress up for something fancier. If you’re going for fancy, a quick search on the internet will give you wonderful results with toasted bread and melted Gruyere cheese. Mine is a simple, homey bowl of comfort. Read on, if you please.
The key to this is extended simmering time and butter. Lots of it. Don’t skimp on the butter. Okay, if you want it to be ‘brothier’ in the liquid sense (or less rich), you can tone it down a little with the butter. But the butter really does make a difference, and you have to, absolutely have to, have this hot. Piping hot. You should also brown the onions on high heat (caramelize), covering it with butter before adding any liquids. If you forget to do this (I started with 2 tbsp of butter, then changed my mind and adding more after already having added the liquids), you can still achieve an amazing flavour, just let it simmer longer. This is great if you don’t have much on the agenda and don’t mind letting it sit and simmer whilst puttering around. Also, if you’re adding liquor, allow this to be absorbed by the onion/butter mix before adding the rest of your broth. You can, and many recipes encourage this, use beef broth, or a mix of beef and chicken broth. I only had chicken on hand so that’s what I used. It still gave delicious results. Bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 1 hour. I simmered mine for about 3 – 3.5 hours.
So ingredients for 4-5 servings:
– 1/4 cup butter
– 7 smallish/medium-ish cooking onions
– 6 cups broth
– 1/4 cup beer (that’s what I had remaining from a beer I split with Ben the evening before. Next time, I would like to try with a 1/2 – 1 cup dark beer or white wine).
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 tbsp sugar
– 5 peppercorns (crack these!)