1In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and add the shallots, leek, and all the onions. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until the onions are soft and have turned deep golden brown, 20 – 30 minutes.
2Add the chicken stock and simmer uncovered until the onions are very soft, about another 20 minutes.
3Transfer the soup to a blender and blend until very smooth (do this in batches if necessary). Return the soup to a clean pan, add the cream, and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup a few minutes to thicken slightly, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4To make the shallot garnish: sprinkle the sliced shallots with the flour, then toss in a fine strainer to thoroughly coat the shallots and shake off the excess flour. Fill a saucepan no more than 1/3 full with oil. Heat the oil to 375 degrees F (if not using a thermometer, fry a few pieces to test first.) Carefully drop the shallots in the oil and dry, stirring to prevent sticking. The shallots should cook slowly, getting light brown after 45 seconds. When golden brown (no darker than a brown paper bag) remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. The garnish may be made up to 8 hours ahead and stored in an airtight container. To serve, ladle the hot soup into warm bowls and top with a spoonful of crispy shallots and a pinch of fresh chives.
5In a pinch, you can use french fried onion rings (in a can) for garnish.
This easy lentil soup is healthy, filling, and delicious. It happens to be vegetarian, too, and is packed not only with tender yet toothsome lentils, but carrot, celery, onion, spinach, and tomato. A little bay leaf, fresh thyme, and a splash of red wine or sherry vinegar perks everything up. Perfect with a loaf of good, crusty bread!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Softened vegetables, including onions and bell peppers, amped up with spices like chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne, form the base of this tortilla soup. Chicken broth and tomatoes are added, along with soft corn tortillas that meld into the liquid to make a hearty, thick meal. Finally, shredded chicken is stirred in, and everything is garnished with crunchy tortilla strips, sour cream, shredded cheese, and scallions (avocados, pickled jalapeños, and cilantro would all work too).
An elevated version of the recipe we all know and love, Fresh Corn Spoonbread is almost just as it sounds – made with fresh ears of corn and served in single-serving ramekins with a spoon like you would corn pudding.
Classic Tomato Soup
This comforting tomato soup is super easy and super delicious. Canned San Marzano tomatoes marry with soft, sautéed onions and garlic, a pinch of red pepper, and chicken broth to create a soothing, savory bowl. Finished with a bit of cream, this is begging for a grilled cheese sandwich on the side. But really, it tastes great with lots of things, as well as on its own (though a basil and Parmesan garnish doesn't hurt).