FIVE LILIES SOUP
Chefs on the Farm
by Shannon Borg & Lora Lea Misterly
A delicate name for a soup honoring the often pungent, yet sweet when cooked, Allium genus. Consisting of hundreds of varieties, both wild and cultivated, commonly known as onions, garlic, leeks, scallions, ramps, and so on, lilies have been eaten since prehistoric times and are of great importance in the kitchen. They are the base of most stocks and sauces, the aromatics in the braise, and the underpinnings of a well-made soup. If you are in the mood to gild the lily, so to speak, top this soup off with a garnish of a pretty cheese- stuffed daylily.
Makes 8 Servings
• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
• 1½ cups finely diced sweet onion
• 1½ cups finely diced red onion
• 3/4 cup finely diced shallots
• 2 dried bay leaves
• 8 to 10 whole black peppercorns
• 2 cups chopped leeks, both white and tender green part
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/2 cup white wine
• 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
• 1 cup heavy cream
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Kosher salt
• 1/4 clove nutmeg, freshly grated
• 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh chives
In a 2-quart stockpot, melt half of the butter over low heat. Add the sweet onion, red onion, shallots, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Cover and cook until the onions are translucent.
Uncover and increase heat to medium. Cook until the onion begins to caramelize, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining butter, leeks, garlic, and white wine. Cook for another 10 minutes, until the leeks are soft. Pour in the stock and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
Remove soup from stockpot and puree in batches in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Return pureed soup to the stockpot and add the heavy cream, black pepper, salt, and nutmeg. Simmer for 15 minutes more, uncovered, or until the soup is thickened slightly by the cream. Adjust salt seasonings if necessary. Stir in chives and serve hot.
Seasonal variations: In the winter months you can use storage onions and omit the leeks and chives for a "four-lilies" version.