Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Flemish Farm Soup

Marnie, my sister, comes over for dinner every Tuesday night. Usually when I am stumped for meal ideas and ask her for suggestions, she says, "That soup." The ingredients are ordinary, but slow-cooking the onions makes this soup very flavorful. Don't skip the croutons! This recipe is only marginally different from the one in "Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special."

3 cups thinly sliced onions
1 tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 cup peeled and thinly sliced carrots
1 cup peeled and thinly sliced potatoes
6 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup loosely packed chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill (1-2 tsp dried)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 Tbsp butter or olive oil
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
4 slices French bread, cut on the diagonal (I prefer a hearty multi-grain bread, cut into quarters)
4 slices of gouda or edam cheese (optional)

In a heavy soup pot on medium-low heat, cook the onions and salt in the olive oil for about 30 minutes, until thoroughly limp and brown. Keep the soup pot covered so the juices will not evaporate, and stir frequently to prevent the onions from sticking.

Add the garlic and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, and stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes (or more). Stir in the parsley, dill and pepper. Cover and simmer on very low heat as you prepare the croutons.

Preheat the broiler.

In a small skillet on low heat, warm the butter or olive oil. Stir in the caraway seeds, sauté for a few seconds, and remove from the heat. Brush the bread slices with the warm liquid, and top each with a slice of cheese (optional). Broil for a few minutes, checking frequently to avoid burning.

Drop a crouton into each bowl of soup before serving.

Yields 7 cups (4 servings).
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 55 minutes.

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