DEAR SOS: Last fall we stayed at the Putney Inn in Putney, Vt. We had the baked onion and apple soup for dinner. Would the inn share the recipe?
DEAR PAULINE: The innkeeper, Randi Ziter, is delighted to share the inn's adaptation of the classic French soup. Because of the inn's location in southern Vermont--near apple orchards--adding the apples seemed quite natural, she said.
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Baked Onion and Apple Soup
Active Work Time: 20 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour
To clarify the butter for this recipe, microwave 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter until melted, skim off the foam from the top, then pour off the butter and discard any milky water on the bottom. You'll have about 5 to 6 tablespoons.
1 large or 2 small onions, thickly sliced (about 1 1/4 pounds)
5 to 6 tablespoons clarified butter
1 cup sliced apples
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon Calvados or Brandy
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper, 1/2 tablespoon whole cloves, 1 star anise and 1 bay leaf, tied in cheesecloth to make a sachet
1/4 cup apple cider or apple juice concentrate
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
6 to 8 croutons
2 slices Cheddar cheese
Cook the onions in the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the apples and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine and Calvados or Brandy, scraping up any brown bits. Add the chicken and beef stocks, the water and the thyme; bring to a boil. Add the spice sachet and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
Add the apple concentrate and balsamic vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the sachet.
To serve, divide the soup between two heavy, oven-proof soup crocks. Top each with croutons and a slice of cheese. Brown under the broiler a couple of minutes before serving.
2 servings. Each serving: 746 calories; 1,210 mg sodium; 77 mg cholesterol; 33 grams fat; 18 grams saturated fat; 89 grams carbohydrates; 17 grams protein; 11.12 grams fiber.