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.
Caramelized onions add a great sweet and savory note to all sorts of dishes, from dips and salads to omelets and pizzas, and they're a must for good French onion soup.The only difficult thing about making them is the wait, but you can't rush deep golden-brown perfection. Read more.
The juicy melon has more to offer than just rounding out a fruit salad. Step away from the melon baller and scoop up these ideas.
Basic Vegetable Soup
This soup is an equally wonderful way to use up all the leftover veggie odds and ends in your fridge, or to celebrate the freshest produce in season by buying it specifically for the dish (and if you get a CSA box, it can serve both purposes). Whatever vegetables you use, this is an easy, nutritious, and delicious meal, and endlessly customizable. Fresh pesto makes a great, vibrant garnish, but you could also simply sprinkle on a bit of grated Parmesan and cracked black pepper. Read more.
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.
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). Read more.