The roasted onion and garlic combine to make a deliciously light and sweet soup. It’s ideal for a light supper or as a first course. And it’s very, very easy.
Roasted onion and garlic soup
- vegetable stock: 4 litres of water, a carrot, a stick of celery, some cloves, peppercorns, bay leaf, thyme, a few bitter green leaves (such as dandelion) and a small mushroom if you have one
- 1 kilogram of onions (about 4 or 5, depending on their size)
- 1 bulb of garlic
- olive oil
- 1 teaspooon of vegemite, or some miso
- Before you start, put all the ingredients for the vegetable stock into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Leave it simmering for about an hour (while the onions and garlic bake). You’ll end up with less than four litres of stock as some of the liquid evaporates.
Now prepare the onions and garlic
- Peel and quarter the onions, then roast them with lots of olive oil in a 180 degrees C (350F) oven for about an hour. Turn them over about half way through so the exposed tops don’t go crispy. You are aiming for soft, translucent, slightly browned-but-not-burnt baked onions.
- Remove all the papery outside from a bulb of garlic, but leave the cloves intact. Don’t peel any of the individual cloves. Put the bulb on a square of foil and drizzle olive oil over it, into all the spaces between the bulbs. Wrap the foil around the garlic and put it in the oven to roast with the onions. They take about the same amount of time to cook.
- Back to the stock and turning it into soup: Remove the larger solids (carrot, celery, mushroom, bay leaf and thyme) from the stock, then tip the baked onions into the saucepan. Squeeze the garlic cloves so the deliciously mushy insides fall into the soup.
- Stir in the Vegemite and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Transfer the soup to a blender and puree it as much as possible. You might not get a really smooth creamy blend, but something a bit more rustic.
- Pour it back into the saucepan and warm it up. If you have too much liquid for your liking, simmer until you have the consistency you want.
- Serve in shallow bowls with chopped parsley and some fresh, sliced bread.
Vegemite is a strange, salty, yeast-based Australian delicacy that is very high in vitamin B12. If you can’t get Vegemite, you could use one of the other ‘mites (such as marmite) or, if that sounds all too unconventional, you could use miso. Miso, with its soy, isn’t an option in this house.