As the weather turns cooler, it’s nice to enjoy some hot, comforting soul food. To me, a rich onion soup is the peak of comfort and definitely something to anticipate at the end of a long, windy day spent trudging to and from Ackerman, Franz and Broad. It’s easy to make and simple enough in concept to be customizable on those days when you’ve got nothing in your cupboard but some dusty onions and scanty seasoning.
With Chanukah coming up, this is also a good option for those days when you’ve had four too many latkes and doughnuts, since the optional dairy toppings allow you to retain the holiday spirit while eating something with fewer stomach-weighting carbs.
Dairy or parve
Yields about three servings (easily multiplied)
Three medium-sized brown onions
Olive, canola, vegetable or sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt, plus to taste
1 medium-sized bay leaf (2 small)
1 teaspoon ground dried basil
1 teaspoon ground dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground dried rosemary
1/8 teaspoon ground dried thyme (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce (optional)
1-2 tablespoons Marsala or white wine (optional)
Shredded parmesan or mozzarella for serving (optional)
Chop onions into thin half-moon slices. Heat a saucepan or pot over medium heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom. Add onions and then salt when the onions are hot, then immediately turn down the heat to medium-low. Allow the onions to “sweat” until they are translucent and begin to soften (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally, then add dried spices. Let continue to cook until onions are completely soft and very fragrant (about 35 minutes more), still stirring occasionally. Add garlic, soy sauce and wine and cook for 5 minutes longer. Pour in enough water to cover the onions by about an inch, then cover, bring to a boil over medium heat and then let simmer on low heat for about half an hour. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Serve hot and top with cheese, if desired. Enjoy!