Red, white, yellow, green: choose your onion soup color Essay

Warm to cool in hue, these four soups display the delicate palette of
different onion varieties. Slow cooking brings out the natural
sweetness of each type of onion. And additional ingredients reinforce
its color and enhance its flavor.



Red onions, fortified with shredded beet, make a borscht. Mild
white onions are enriched with cream and topped with a sprinkle of
nutmeg, then garnished with cheese-topped toast rounds. Traditional
yellow onion soup is laced with sherry, flavored with turmeric and
coriander, and crowned with parmesan and homemade croutons. Sauteed
leeks and green onions become the base for a delicate, lemon-fragrant
chowder that’s garnished with chives, lemon slices, and whipped
cream. Red Onion Borscht 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine 4 large
red onions (3 to 3-1/2 lb.), thinly sliced 1/2 cup red wine vinegar 1/2
pound beets, peeled and shredded 2-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 6
cups regular-strength chicken broth 1/3 cup port (optional) Sour cream



In a 5- to 6-quart pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions
(reserve 1/3 cup for garnish), vinegar, and beets; stir often until
onions are very limp, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in flour. Add broth. (If
made ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to 2 days.) Stirring
occasionally, bring to a boil; add port. Ladle into 4 to 8 bowls and
garnish each with a spoonful of sour cream and a few slices of reserved
red onion. Serves 4 to 6 as an entree, 8 as a first course. Creamy
White Onion Bisque 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine 6 large white
onions (3 to 3-1/2 lb.), thinly sliced 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 5
cups regular-strength chicken broth 1 cup whipping cream 1/8 teaspoon
white pepper Toast rounds (recipe follows) Freshly grated or ground
nutmeg


In a 5- to 6-quart pan, combine the butter and the onions. Cook
over medium heat, stirring often, until onions are very limp, 25 to 30
minutes. Stir in flour. Add broth, cream, and pepper. (If made ahead,
cool, cover, and chill up to 2 days.) Stirring occasionally, bring to a
boil. Ladle into 4 to 8 bowls. Set 2 toast rounds atop each bowl of
soup. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Serves 4 to 6 as an entree, 8 as a first
course.



Toast rounds. Place 10 to 12 baguette slices (1/2 in. thick) in a
single layer on a 10- by 15-inch baking sheet. Bake in a 325[deg.] oven
until toasted, about 25 minutes. (If made ahead, cool, wrap airtight,
and store up to 2 days.) Shortly before serving, brush toast rounds
with 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) melted butter or margarine and sprinkle with 1/2
cup shredded Swiss cheese. Broil about 4 inches from heat until cheese
melts, about 1 minute. Use hot. Golden Onion Soup 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.)
butter or margarine 6 large yellow onions (3 to 3-1/2 lb.), thinly
sliced 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric 2-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 5 cups
regular-strength chicken broth 1/3 cup dry sherry (optional) 1/2 cup
freshly grated parmesan cheese Croutons (recipe follows)



In a 5- to 6-quart pan, combine butter, onions, and garlic. Cook
over medium heat, stirring often, for 20 minutes. Add coriander and
turmeric and cook over low heat, stirring, until onions are very limp, 5
to 10 minutes longer. Stir in flour. Add broth. (If made ahead, cool,
cover, and chill up to 2 days.) Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally;
add sherry. Ladle into 4 to 8 bowls. Garnish each serving with cheese
and croutons. Serves 4 to 6 as an entree, 8 as a first course.



Croutons. Cut about 1/4 pound French bread into 1/2-inch cubes to
make 2-1/2 cups; place on a 10- by 15-inch pan. Bake in a 325[deg.]
oven until toasted. (If made ahead, cool and store airtight up to 2
days.) Shortly before serving, mix with 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) melted butter
or margarine. Triple Green Onion Chowder 6 large leeks (about 3 lb.)
1/4 cup butter or margarine 2-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 6 cups
regular-strength chicken broth 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme leaves 1/8
teaspoon white pepper 3 cups thinly sliced green onions, including green
tops 3/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/2 cup
whipping cream, whipped Whole chives and thin lemon slices



Cut off and discard root ends and tough dark green stems of leeks;
if necessary, peel off tough outer layers. Split leeks lengthwise and
rinse well. Thinly slice to make 5 cups.



In a 5- to 6-quart pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add leeks
and cook, stirring often, until they are very limp, about 20 minutes.
Stir in flour. Add broth, thyme, and pepper. (If made ahead, cool,
cover, and chill up to 2 days.) Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally;
add green onions and cook just until they turn bright green. Stir in
lemon peel and lemon juice. Ladle into 4 to 8 bowls. Garnish each with
a dollop of whipped cream, some chives, and lemon slices. Serves 4 to 6
as an entree, 8 as a first course.

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