Caramelized Red Onion Soup-with Port, Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs by Caitlin
From Rebar Modern Food Cookbook Serves 6-8 and freezes well.
1 recipe slow roast tomatoes: 10 tomatoes, halved, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tsp salt, ¼ tsp cracked pepper
and around ~2 tb minced thyme or rosemary, dried or fresh
8 cups vegetable stock
4 tb extra virgin olive oil
6 large red onions, very thinly sliced
1 garlic bulb, minced
2 tsp salt
2 tb minced thyme* I substituted a little less than half dried basil and thyme
4 tb minced basil
½ tsp cracked black pepper
½ tsp red chili flake
1 tb brown sugar
1 cup Port (or substitute a full bodied red wine)
2 tb balsamic vinegar
chopped fresh basil or Italian parsley (optional)
For Cheese Topping: Sliced Toasted white bread, a baguette works great
Grated cheese to broil (I like a mixture of gruyere and cheddar)
Prepare Slow Roast Tomatoes at least three hours before beginning soup preparation or, at most, 3-4 days in advance.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Slice tomatoes in half and arrange cut side up on a parchment lined baking tray. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs.
Roast tomatoes for up to 4 hours or until they are visibly dehydrated yet still meaty looking. Cool and refrigerate.
Prepare Caramelized Onions. They can be made up to a week in advance.
Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet and stir in the onions and salt. You will probably think you have way too many onions but they will shrink!
Sauté over medium heat, stirring occasional until onions are soft and starting to turn golden. Then add minced garlic, herbs, chile flakes, pepper and sugar and continue to cook gently until the onions are broken down completely, around 30 minutes.
You want to port to sizzle a little when it goes into the pan, turn heat to medium low and add the port to deglaze pan. Let it reduce until very thick and syrupy. This took about 25 minutes for me. You will know the onions are done when you stir and pull the onions away from the bottom of the pan and it is thick and syrupy, not at all watery.
Cool and store in the fridge in a glass container or proceed with soup making.
Make vegetable stock, or have it heated and warm on a back burner for when you are ready to make the soup.
Final Preparation for soup:
Have Vegetable stock at a low simmer on stove. Transfer onions to a soup pot. Remove skins from roasted tomatoes and chop coarsely. Add tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and heated vegetable stock to the soup pot.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer partially covered to meld flavours, about 30 minutes. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, or balsamic vinegar. Just before serving stir in extra fresh chopped herbs.
Top with toasted sliced baguette slices and grated cheese and broil until cheese melts and for a more traditional French onion soup experience. It is key that the baguette is toasted before placing it in the soup otherwise it will get too soggy.