Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fried onion and carrot soup (with bonus shallot oil!)





I made this soup as a vaguely-North Indian spiced vegetable dish to go with a lamb rogan josh Australian pie that we had in the freezer from TA Pies in Montreal. It would stand up just fine as an entree soup and seems like it would be especially good with warm naan.

Serves four as a side dish or two as an entree.

Materials:

3 Tbsp ghee or clarified butter
3 thinly sliced, medium yellow onions
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp whole cumin, ground
2 tsp whole coriander, ground
2 pinches ground turmeric
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 cm slices
2 bouillon cubes (my favourite are Maggi)
Water
Salt

1/4 cup ghee
1/4 cup neutral high-smoke point oil (or more ghee)
4 small shallots, sliced as thinly as you can
Green parts of 2 large scallions, thinly sliced

Large saucepan.
Small saucepan (2 cups is perfect).
Wooden spoon or stiff, heatproof spatula.
Small strainer.
Paper towels,
Hand blender.

Method:

Heat the ghee in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until very soft. Add the garlic.

Continue stirring almost constantly as onions and garlic begin to brown. We're aiming for dark brown, but not burned, and very aromatic. You don't want super-soft, sweet, caramelized onions, you want the taste of browned onions that are so great with flat-top homefries. But you *don't* want them to burn, so if you're going to err, err on the side of caution.

When the onions and garlic are brown, add the spices and stir for another minute.

Add the carrots and bouillon cubes and stir to combine. As the carrots cook they will release liquid that will keep the onions from overcooking. Once the onions are out of the woods and you're not going to burn them by stepping away, put on a kettle of water to boil.

Continue cooking, stirring frequently but no longer constantly, until the carrots begin to become tender. Pour enough water to cover and cook until the carrots are very tender.

Put ghee and oil over medium-high heat and heat until a drop of water fizzles in the oil immediately. Fry the shallots in batches, fishing them out with a small strainer when they are crispy. Drain on paper towels and season with salt immediately after they're retrieved from the oil.

(I strained and saved the oil, which is now deliciously shallotty. It will be great for eggs, sauteed cabbage, or Burmese cooking.)

When carrots are tender, blend the soup using a hand blender until completely smooth. Season to taste. Serve with scallions and shallots to garnish on the table and let people customize how much shallot vs. scallion they want in their soup.