WINE WITH…Multi-Onion Soup with Cheese Croutons
The secret to this delicious soup is to choose a variety of different
options from the onion family, including regular yellow and/or purple onions, sweet Vidalia or Walla Walla onions, leeks, shallots, garlic, chives, scallions…. The options seem endless, and the more different varieties you use the richer and more complex your soup will be. The cheesy croutons are really just grilled cheese sandwiches cut into cubes (it’s hard to go back to plain croutons once you’ve tasted this variation on the theme).
This soup is rich and hearty enough to be a meal in itself. It also can be served as a first course at an elegant dinner party, in which case you might want to raise the bar and enjoy it with a glass of Champagne.
Multi-Onion Soup With Cheese Croutons
The soup is even better if made a day ahead; allow 1 crouton-sandwich per person.
For the Soup:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow or red onions, chopped
1 Walla Walla or Vidalia onion, chopped
3 leeks (white and light green parts only, carefully cleaned and chopped)
3 shallots, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon white or brown sugar
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 cups chicken, beef or vegetable stock
Place the butter and olive oil in a large stockpot, and when the butter foams stir in the onions, leeks, shallots and sugar. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook the onions slowly, stirring frequently, until they are very soft and caramel colored (this should take 50-60 minutes). Adjust the heat if necessary so that the onions don’t burn. Once they are cooked, add the bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and stock, and simmer the mixture for 20-30 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and lightly puree the mixture with an immersion blender. The soup should be chunky, not completely pulverized.
For Each Cheese Sandwich:
2 slices of good white bread, crusts trimmed
2 tablespoons of butter, softened
1-2 ounces good Cheddar cheese, sliced or grated
Spread the butter thickly over one side of each slice of bread. Sandwich the cheese in between the two unbuttered sides of the bread. Grill the sandwiches in an electric gridler or panini press, or in a skillet on top of the stove. Let the sandwiches cool slightly, then cut them into 12 squares and float them on top of the soup.
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You have two options for a winning wine companion with this soup. Either choose something that matches it for richness, or something that provides a contrast, either through its taut acidity or its rustic earthiness. Neither is the superior choice, though if you are serving the soup as a first course with other dishes and other wines to follow, the contrast might be the more appealing option.
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