We are lucky to have not one but two winter farm markets here, but I am counting the days until the summer market opens. Recently I revisited this soup from 2012, inspired by what I found at the market that year.
I've had the farm market habit since the days when I lived within walking distance of the Dane County Farm Market in Madison, Wis.
I'd leave my apartment for the market's opening, make one turn around Capital Square, and head home, both arms full. I'd eat breakfast, and go back around 9 a.m., returning home again loaded down with produce, baked goods, herbs and more. In those days, I could eat for about $20-30 a week.
I like the sense of community a farm market generates. I see the same shoppers every week, and there's lots of bantering back and forth between shoppers and growers.
The following sweet onion soup recipe was made from two varieties of Immerfrost Farm sweet onions and leeks, garlic, thyme from my own garden, bay leaves from another vendor, and topped with cheese from a regional cheese factory. Only the broth and the black-truffle butter (a splurge) were not locally produced.
Sweet Onion-Leek Soup with Truffle Butter and Thyme
- 10-12 small sweet onions, sliced
23 medium leeks, sliced (tender white and green parts)
- 2 small cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 Tablespoons truffle butter
- 1 32-ounce package free-range chicken broth, or homemade stock*
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- dash herbes de Provence
- 2 bay leaves
- 1-2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- thickening agent
You could choose to start by making a roux with flour and butter. (I often forget this step and use this method. I find that a cheese rind often does the trick, too.)
Prepare onions and leaks and brown in oil and truffle butter stock pot over medium heat until transparent and slightly brown. Stir frequently. Add broth, herbs, and bay leaves. Allow to nearly reach boiling point, then simmer for about 40 minutes or more over very low heat. Add fresh thyme about midway through the simmering process. Remove bay leaves before serving. Season to taste.
Serve with grated or flaked cheese; I used flaked Parmesan. but Gruyere would be perfect, too.
Light, sweet, subtle: I served it with hard French rolls. It's also great with a ham sandwich.
*This is much better with homemade stock. I save juice from just about everything, including slow cooker chicken and pork chops. Add water, chill overnight, and skim off the fat. I use this strategy with broth made from a chicken carcass, too.
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