‘Tis the season! There’s a chill in the air! Feel it? In my kitchen that means soup time. I’m afraid my soup section is going to be shamefully packed over the next few weeks. Completely addicted to the liquid loveliness. Especially hearty and rich autumn soups.
Nothing beats sitting down with a fragrant, steaming bowl of hot soup after a long autumn walk in the woods or on the beach. The simple things in life really are the best. Recently I’ve discovered that soup can be delightfully creamy without having one drop of cream in it. Yes, it really can! This is a remarkable bowl of soup – it’s brimming with flavor and so velvety it’s hard to believe it contains little to no fattening ingredients.
The secret ingredient in my soup is simply potato. Really, that’s all. The entire soup derives its creaminess from just one potato. Believe me when I say it works beautifully!
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions
1 tsp dried thyme
3 cups beef broth
2 slices white bread (stale)
1 tbsp oil
Start by coarsely chopping the onions and potatoes. Make sure you use a starchy potato. Surprisingly enough I didn’t even have to cry this time, usually my mascara ends up somewhere on my chin. My hands look kinda alien in these shots, though.
My latest ‘new find‘. Isn’t it a looker? It’s a light/diet (liquid) butter for baking and stir-frying. Tried it for the first time and am sold. It works like a charm. Tastes like regular butter but without all the fat.
I’ve used 1 tbsp (light) butter and 1 tbsp olive oil but (unless you’re in the Netherlands) you can use 2 tbsp oil. Add the onions, diced potato and 1 tsp dried thyme. Give it a good stir, lower your heat, pop the lid on and let the onions smother for 10 minutes.
Cut 2 (stale) white bread slices in cubes and crumble them. No need to be fussy about it, you’re gonna put them under the grill (or in the oven) and they’re easier to crumble after they’re baked.
I went for basil, but you can use pretty much any herb. Sage or flat parsley also work very well. You can either chop it by hand or get lazy like me – I used my mini food processor, added 1 tbsp olive oil and pulsated several times.
Saw some (commercial) collage/blog board actions for photoshop online -it was something I never even thought of- got all excited over them until I saw just how much they charged for them. Whew. Figured I could easily make them myself (and save myself quite some money in the process). As it turns out, I was right. Creating identical photoshop actions was literally child’s play, so I’m afraid you’re gonna have to look at my collages for the next decade or so. Sorry. It’s just so easy to put several ‘steps’ into one photo. Less clutter.
Back to the soup! After several minutes, give the onions and potatoes a quick stir and put the lid back on.
Preheat your oven/grill to 400 (200c) and add your basil to the bread crumbs. Spike with a royal amount of pepper and a little salt.
The onions will be done by now, so pour in the beef broth. You can season afterwards (which is always safer) but I added 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt at this stage, which turned out to be the perfect amount of salt and added a good pinch of pepper. Boil the soup for 5 to 10 minutes.
Transfer the bread crumbs to an oven dish and sprinkle (a royal amount) grated cheese on top. As long as it’s not melting cheese, anything goes. It’s tastier with aged cheese, though. The cheese will get all crunchy, and will have that deep flavor that goes so well with the soup. Put in a hot oven for about 5 minutes (keep an eye on them) shuffle them and give them a few more minutes until crunchy and golden brown. As soon as they come out of the oven, crumble them a bit more.
See, there they are again! What comes after a triptych? A fourtych? I honestly don’t know. Anyway, using a blender, rod mixer or food processor, turn the soup into a smooth, silky substance. What a difference one potato can make, isn’t it?
Serve in a bowl, sprinkle the croutons on top and garnish with a little extra basil. Is this creamy or what?