FLEMISH ONION SOUP WITH CHEESE
In the old days, this was the soup that fed families at the end of the month.
When there was nothing else left, there were always a few onions, potatoes, a
bit of cheese, and a loaf of bread. Marrying the natural sweetness of cooked
onions with the creamy texture of potatoes, this satisfying soup is a classic of
Flemish country cooking and perfectly exemplifies my grandmother's dictum that if
you are clever, you can live like a king on a beggar's purse.
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4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 large baking potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds) peeled and cubed
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives (optional)
3/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese
||Melt the butter in a heavy soup pot over low heat. Add the onions and increase the heat
to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 10 minutes. Let the onions brown
slightly for a more pronounced flavor.|
||Add the potatoes, water, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer,
covered, until the potatoes are soft, 20 to 25 minutes.|
||Discard the bay leaf and let the soup cool slightly. Press the soup through a food
mill or purée in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth.|
||Return the purée to the soup pot and gradually stir in the milk. Season with salt,
pepper, and nutmeg.|
||Reheat the soup gently before serving. Do not let it boil. Serve hot in warmed soup
plates. If desired, sprinkle with chives and float croutons in each soup plate. Place
the grated cheese in a pretty bowl and pass at the table.|
Excerpted from EVERYBODY EATS WELL IN BELGIUM COOKBOOK copyright © 1996 Ruth Van Waerebeek.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.