recipe: Allium soup

Simply, this is a fancy way of saying supercharged “onion” soup. Allium is the genius that includes the onion family. The recipe recalls the breath of the Allium family, including building the stock from scratch to help put an extra emphasis on the favors. One could easily substitute any pre-made stock as well. The recipe came out of needing a nice long cook and more importantly, being able to get fresh looking leeks at the store and just feeling like a nice warm bowl of soup. I contemplated making potato and leek soup but after just making caldo verde I wanted to switch it up a little bit. The spices I included can be tailored to your preferences, these happen to be a bit delta influenced – as does one of the base flavor concepts, but you could just go with a simple black pepper and a bit of salt or whatever flavors you typically prefer. It is very easy to make this vegetarian style, but I’m not so I didn’t… I had some nice crusty bread to go with it and I left out the cheese topping typical to onion soup because it didn’t seem to fit the idea.

To help with proportions for every three cups of chopped allium you probably need at least two cups of liquid minimum, but depending on cooking time and preferences you could need more. Generally speaking again I would probably use 1 head of garlic, 2 shallots, 2 onions (one of each), 3 decent sized leeks and a full handful of chives to get started on the balance between all of these ingredients – but remember freshness will effect pungency which is a key to the flavors, cooking time will also play a role and your personal flavor preferences can also help tweak the dish… scaling up, or down, will require you to do it by feel rather than raw proportions no matter how you start out. The prep is not that “long” trust me, it looks like more than it is, but I include it because the technique help makes the meal work when you make the whole thing from scratch and throw nothing out.

Another note, although I didn’t prefer it, is you could use a roux to help give the soup a thicker consistency and provide another layer of flavor, however, as much as I personally enjoy a great roux based dish, I actually decided against it this time, the thinner soup had more than enough going on with the rest of the veggies.

The seasoning I used is a variant of the house seasoning, which, I am still not giving up… however anything such as sea salt, black pepper, paprika (any/all from smoked to sweet), sassafras, ground ancho pepper, cayenne pepper, dried ground rosemary, coriander, etc… use your spice imagination.

yellow onion (if you can get vidalia, they are sweet and lend a good caramelized flavor)
red onion
poblano or other mild chili
andouile sausage (linguisa would also work, or your favorite pork based sausage – no sausage? then use olive oil)
rosemary (fresh preferred)
bay leaf
seasoning * (and whole pepper corns)
stock pot
large bowl

Cut the dark green part off the the leeks just above where the green begins turning white and the stiff leaves begin to feel softer and thoroughly rinse these green leaves under cold water.
Cut off the root section of the leeks about a quarter inch from the root and thoroughly rise it as well under cold water.
Set both in the stock pot.
Then half the remaining white part of the stalk, coarsely chop, rinse in water to remove any residual dirt and set aside.
Half or quarter the onions, then remove the skin and top layer of the onion and rinse it thoroughly and place that in the stock pot.
Then coarsely chop the onion, keeping the two types separate and set aside. Any remaining part of the onion, such as the root part of the bulb should be added to the stock pot.
Do the same with the shallots as you did with the onions.
Remove the papery tops off all the cloves of garlic and the root base. Rinse them all and place them in the stock pot.
Coarsely chop the garlic cloves and set aside.
Remove the roots from the chives (and the stiff tops of any of the stems), rinse thoroughly and add to the stock pot.
Roughly chop the remaining chives and set aside.
Remove the heart of the celery stalk and the stiff bottom part of the celery stalks you will be using, rinse thoroughly and add them to the stock pot.
Coarsely chop the celery stalks (keep the leaves separate from the stalk if you have the leaves)
Remove the stem and seeds from the peppers, add them to the stock pot.
Coarsely chop the peppers and set them aside
Coarsely chop the sausage and set it aside

All the veggie left overs you had are now in the stock pot… take a note where in the pot the level of leftovers is and then add water to the pot… the level should be more than either aprox double the level of veggies in the pot or the aprox ratio of liquid needed based on the coarsely chopped veggies you have set aside. Remember, you can use the extra later, but if you need to make more, you’ll be stuck using plain water as the recipe goes on.

Add to the stock pot the pepper corns and the bay leaf along with the veggies and water and bring to a high boil, than reduce to a simmer. The simmer time can be as little as 20 minutes or it could be as long as you’d like, up to overnight.

Once the stock has finished it’s simmer, you’ll need to dump it from the stock pot through the collinder to separate the liquid from the now disposable byproduct. It is not necessary to filter the stock further than just removing the large vegetation by use of the collinder and hold the stock aside (as long as you are SURE you got all the dirt out on the rinse! otherwise cheese cloth is your friend). You should be using it right away, so don’t allow it to come to room temperature and spoil – otherwise it needs refrigeration.

The Soup
In the stock pot place the sliced sausage, pepper, celery stalk, yellow onion and at least half the garlic and allow to begin to caramelize using the fat that sweats out of the sausage.
Add a couple of ladles of the stock to the stock pot and allow it to come up to a boil and then back down to a very low simmer and reduce by at least half.
Introduce the remaining liquid, so that it is to about amount of soup you are trying to create (you may still need to add more liquid later but this creates a baseline) and season once.
At the same time, add the bay leaf, cracked black pepper, red onion, shallots, remaining garlic and leeks to the liquid and season as second time.
Allow to simmer for between 30 minutes and several hours (the longer the simmer the more a need to cover it!)
In the last quarter of the cook time add the fresh rosemary and if necessary season again as necessary.
During the final few minutes of cooking add the chives… and don’t forget to remove the bay leafs and the stems to the fresh rosemary.

About thedoormouse

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1 Response to recipe: Allium soup

  1. Pingback: recipe: gumbo z’herbes « doormouse’s declarations and personal attributions

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