I love the flavor of caramelized onions. It’s deep, sweet and tasty! These onions are happy…they’ve been doused with some port wine! The port intensifies the flavors even more. I think I made up this potato soup just to have some kind of a stage for the onions! Don’t get me wrong, the soup is delicious, but I think the onions make it really special. Experiment with your favorites. If you don’t like onions, try topping this soup with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, a pesto of fresh herbs or crumbled bits of bacon. Serve this with a hearty bread or some biscuits and it’s a great winter meal.

Potato Soup with Caramelized Tipsy Onions

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 medium onions, one chopped and two cut in half and sliced
2 – 3 stalks celery, sliced
4 sprigs sage, tied with string
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic, chopped
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon butter
pinch of sugar
leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup port wine
1/2 cup cream

salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the one chopped onion, celery and herbs in 1 T. of the olive oil being very careful not to get them brown. Once the onions are soft, add the garlic and continue cooking for a minute.

Add the stock and raise the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then simmer while you peel and cube the potatoes.
Add the potatoes and continue simmering until fork tender.
While the potatoes are simmering, prepare the caramelized onions. In a 12″ skillet over medium high heat, cook the onions in the remaining 1 T. olive oil and 1 T. of the butter. Add the pinch of sugar. This will help caramelize the onions a bit more.This process will take time to get the onions a really nice dark brown, but not burnt. Once they get going, reduce the heat to medium, add the thyme leaves and keep stirring them around. Getting the right color will take about 12 or more minutes.  Once they look deep brown, add the port wine and simmer for just a minute or two until the wine has evaporated into a glossy syrup. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Once the potatoes are soft, remove the sage bundle and the bay leaves. Add the cream and stir.
Before blending the soup, I like to use a measuring cup and remove about 2 cups of the soup and put it aside so the soup will have some cubes of potato. If you want your soup completely smooth, skip this step. Using an immersion blender or hand blender, blend the soup in the pot until creamy and smooth. Return the 2 cups of soup to the pot and stir.
To serve, ladle the soup into a bowl and top with about a tablespoonful of onions.

Notes:

  • If you do not have port wine, try using sherry, red wine or even white wine. The point is, just get those onions tipsy!