I decided to send you a soup recipe, as it's a bit unusual, and somehow, if people want to experiment with a new recipe, a soup is a safe bet. Everyone has their own fail-safe casseroles that they're likely to fall back on..
I have been making this divine soup for several years, and only in Winter - it is seriously luxurious comfort food..
By the way, we ordered the waffle maker from you for our 12 year old son for Christmas, and it's fantastic. We had fresh waffles every morning for two weeks!
RED ONION & RED WINE SOUP - Serves 6
This soup is a luxurious twist on the classic French onion soup. It looks delicious with a rich purple colour. If you've guests, it makes an impressive and substantial supper or lunch dish, or a much-appreciated starter - say before your Sunday roast..(It is so richly flavoured that it wouldn't be a good idea to follow it with delicately flavoured food such as fish or fragrant food such as Thai)
The soup has got quite a solid amount of veg in it, and is so well flavoured that you can easily increase the quantity without comprising the quality by adding extra stock. It will freeze really well, so if you're only using some of it, you can have some extra lunches lined up.
It's very easy, needing no skills except slicing and chopping, and apart from occasionally stirring and adding things in, is more or less left to stew away on its own.
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
900g (2 lb) Red Onions, quartered and finely sliced
4 fat cloves garlic
Half teaspoon salt
2 x 400g (2 x 14oz ) cans tomatoes - chopped
1 bay leaf
6 sprigs fresh thyme
Strip of orange skin about as long and wide as your thumb
(peeled so you don't get the white part)
2 wineglasses red wine
900ml (11/2 pints) stock made with good quality vegetable stock cubes or Marigold bouillon powder
Salt & Pepper
Parsley or thyme leaves to garnish
Heat the oil in spacious heavy pan with a well-fitting lid, and saute the white onion about 10 minutes until soft and beginning to caramelize
Add sliced red onions, stirring to coat with the oil, and cook slowly 30 minutes until soft and wilted, stirring occasionally.
When onions are softened, add tomatoes, salt, crushed garlic, bay leaf, thyme, orange peel.
Cover pan and leave to stew for 15 minutes.
Add the wine, and boil vigorously until liquid is reduced by half to cook off the alcohol.
Pour in the stock and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes. At this point, you can decide if you want to add extra hot stock to stretch the soup
Season with salt and pepper
Serve with hot crusty bread.
If this is a lunch or supper dish, you can offer more substantial breads such as ciabatta, or foccacia with toppings, and offer something to top the soup with such as grated parmesan, a dish of soft goat's cheese to blob on top, or creme fraiche.