Monday, 27 May 2013

One Potato More...

Zuppa di Patate, Rucola & Cipolla Caramellata
Potato & Arugula Soup with Caramelized Onion

I find it hard to believe myself, but yes, I am indeed still ill with a persistent cold and the aches, pains, fever and shivers that go with it- ugh! Incredible that it will be June before we know it! What a way to start the Summer! So what was I to do with all the salad greens I had bought, anticipating sunny weather and warmer temperatures... and better health than this!?!

The basic truth of the matter is that I needed something warm! But no- I had no chicken at home, not even frozen (I was frozen myself!) and I was running low on vegetables too! A dilemma? Maybe. A challenge? Sure? And did I have a solution? Of course! Hunger makes anything possible- thank goodness! And as usual it was something easy and economical that I came up with, as well as being healthy and delicious... 

The main ingredients here were 1 largish potato, 1 onion and 1 good handful of arugula. That is easy enough to memorize, per person, isn't it? Obviously I had a few other ingredients that were necessary to give the broth flavor, but basically, it was as simple as that to make!

I began by chopping up the potato into quarters, adding a 1" slice of finely chopped ginger, 1 stalk of chopped celery, 1 small parsnip, 1 Spring onion and a little chopped garlic and boiling these together in just enough water to cover them for around 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, I added about the same amount of liquid in milk, seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg and then when it came back up to the boil, continued simmering for a further 10 minutes. In the meantime, I started work on caramelizing the onion to go on top...

I put the sliced onion into a hot frying pan with just a teaspoon of butter and sautéed it at a relatively high heat until it began to turn translucent. At this point I added salt and pepper and just enough water to cover the base of the pan. I carried on frying it until the water evaporated away- which is why I say frying- because that excess liquid soon gets absorbed by the onion or evaporates away and the frying and browning process continues. I repeated this 2 more times... it was almost like making a risotto! And little by little, the onion began to take on a lovely, caramel color. After about 10 minutes of cooking, I added 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 of balsamic glaze, stirred this in well and then turned off the heat. Now that was one nice batch of delicious onion slices, I'm tellin' ya!

I then transferred the unfinished potato soup from the stove top to my mixer, added that handful of arugula I mentioned and then gave it a whizz- just 30 seconds or so in short blasts... and before I knew it- my almost perfect soup was done! I say almost perfect- because I still needed to add that delicious, golden onion... mmm! I have to tell you dear readers... the combination really WAS delicious! The peppery, nutty flavor of the arugula together with the rich potato and then the sweet and sour onion- well, that's about as good as it gets in my book! And I can imagine you may well like it too!

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