This smooth soup is a specialty of the house at Bayona in New Orleans. What seems like a prodigious quantity of garlic and onions is mellowed by the long, slow cooking. If you can, make the soup a day ahead; the flavor will be even better.
Warming Soup Recipes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds onions, about 4, chopped
2 cups garlic cloves, about 4 large heads, chopped
2 quarts Chicken Stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 loaf day-old French bread (about 1/4 pound), cut into chunks
1 bouquet garni: 6 parsley stems, 9 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried, and 1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
How to Make It
In a large pot, heat the oil and butter over low heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and beginning to turn golden, about 30 minutes. Raise the heat to moderate and continue cooking the onions and garlic, uncovered, stirring frequently, until deep golden, about 10 minutes longer.
Add the stock, bread, bouquet garni, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer about 15 minutes.
Remove the bouquet garni and puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Strain the soup back into the pot. Add the half-and-half and pepper and bring back to a boil. Serve topped with the croutons, if you like.
Experiment with either a red, such as one of the fruity wines from the Corbières region of France, or a white, such as a fairly high-alcohol wine from the Côtes-du-Rhône or Côtes de Provence in France.
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