The Best Soup I've Ever Had (and here's the recipe!)
On a recent visit to The Woodstock Inn, I tasted a caramelized onion and potato soup that was so delicious that it shut down all the conversation at the table (for concentration). It was creamy, a bit sweet from the onions, but balanced by a wonderful savoriness that reminded me of a great French onion soup.
I spent the next day or so trying to imagine how I could possibly get this recipe from the chef…until I remembered that it’s my job to be able to do this so why not call? Chef Greg Farrell was kind enough to spill the secret and here it is for you to enjoy—a perfect end-of-winter warmer.
The Woodstock Inn’s Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup
Note: Two cups of cream is not unusual for restaurant fare, but it’s still a lot of cream, and you might not want to use that much at home. I use 2 cups of broth and 1 cup of cream when I make it, and it’s still creamy and delicious. You could reduce the amount further, to 1/2 cup cream and 2 1/2 cups broth, if you’d like. You can also reduce the amount of Gruyère to 2 ounces (I do) and use either the Parmesan or the Romano cheese. You don’t “need” both.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, peeled and thinly sliced
- 6 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, plus more to taste
- ½ cup sherry
- ¼ cup brandy
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 cups heavy cream (can substitute light cream, see Note)
- 1 cup beef broth (see Note), plus more as needed
- 8 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (see Note)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese (see Note)
- 2 ounces freshly grated Romano cheese (see Note)
- Black pepper, to taste
- Garnish: Minced fresh chives
Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, then add onions, garlic, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir, cover, and cook 5 minutes. Remove cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions turn a deep golden brown, 20 to 25 more minutes. Add sherry and brandy, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add potato and thyme, stir, then add cream and beef broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until potato is very tender, about 10 minutes. Puree soup in batches in a blender (or process with an immersion blender), then return to a simmer. If the soup seems too thick, add a bit more broth.
In a medium bowl, toss the Gruyère with the corn starch then whisk it into the soup with the Parmesan and Romano (if using). Check seasonings and add pepper and additional salt to taste. Garnish with chives and serve hot. Yield: 6 to 8 servings