February 4 is National Homemade Soup day, and I can think of no better way to celebrate than with a hot bowl of English Onion Soup with Sage and Cheddar.
- I found the recipe here on Jamie Oliver's website, and mentioned it to my cooking friends on Twitter. Before I knew it, half a dozen of us decided to make the soup. Leslie of Lethally Delicious made this soup first, and reported that hers was bland, so I worked extra hard to develop maximum flavor at every stage of the soup.
- It is very important to measure your onions by weight for this recipe; no volume measurements are provided, and the size of onions varies wildly. I used 1000g of a mixture of five different types of onions: white onions, red onions, shallots (regular), leeks, and baby Vidalias.
- Oliver stresses that the onions should be cooked on low temperature to bring out their sweetness. I chose med/low, and my onions took a lot longer to cook that the recipe recommends. I wanted to make sure that the liquid evaporated off and they got caramelized, so I think my onions cooked about 80 minutes or so.
- I made sure to season at every stage with salt and pepper.
- Oliver allows a choice of which type of stock to use for the soup's base. I had just prepared some turkey and chicken stock from Ruhlman's overnight method, so that's what I used.
- My bread was from a homemade loaf of Bread Baker's Apprentice Italian Bread.
- Some lovely sharp 10 year aged cheddar finished off the soup.
- I ended up with about 2.5 quarts of soup. One quart went directly into the freezer for a rainy day.
I absolutely loved this soup, and surprisingly, so did my husband. He has never liked French onion soup, so I served this to him with a bit of trepidation. It was different from French onion soup, which to me tends to be mostly about the beef broth and the melted gruyere. This soup was packed with onions, and there was a plethora of different onion flavors which were complemented by the woodsy sage and the sharp cheddar. I really liked the poultry stock as a base for this, and would definitely make it the same next time.