Blend Caramelized Onions Into Soup For A Savory Burst Of Flavor

Soups are the height of global comfort food and are as prevalent in hot countries as they are in cold cultures. Not only are soups easy to prepare but they get more flavorful with time as the seasonings and ingredients continue to marinate and bloom with each reheating. However, if you don't want to wait days for your soup to maximize its taste, caramelized onions will provide instantaneous depth of flavor. While you might saute onions to create an aromatic foundation for your broth or even sprinkle raw onions over a bowl of soup for a spicy, crunchy garnish, caramelized onions offer a completely different and much more complex set of flavors. Caramelization implies the slow cooking of sugars, resulting in a deep brown coloring and a complex sweetness that no other process can imitate.

Caramelized onions offer this rich, nutty sweetness while also enhancing and developing onions' inherently savory aroma. Plus, the low and slow cooking process transforms crunchy onions into a deep-brown, melt-in-your-mouth consistency. Caramelized onions are thus very easy to blend into a uniform paste, acting as both a flavoring and thickening agent for any soup. Since onions are a ubiquitous base for soups of all varieties, you'll be hard-pressed to find a soup that won't benefit from the addition of caramelized onions.

Tips for caramelized onions and how to blend them into soups

Caramelizing onions is a fundamental skill for any cook to have. It's easy to master, and caramelized onions provide an instant gourmet upgrade to a wide variety of dishes, from grilled cheese sandwiches to fancy cuts of steak. Caramelizing onions is a straightforward process that requires patience. It starts with sauteing thinly sliced onions over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes before turning the heat down to medium-low and cooking them for another 45 minutes, stirring every so often.

The onions will go from translucent to golden, to amber, and, finally, to a deep brown color. The smell of caramelized onions is as obvious and delicious a sign of their transformation as their coloring. After nearly an hour over the stove, caramelized onions yield a fraction of the volume of their raw or even sauteed counterparts, so it's advisable to make a large batch. Sauteing with a mixture of olive oil and butter adds even more savory flavors to the mix.

To add caramelized onions to soups, you can blend them into a creamy, pureed soup along with its solid ingredients. For brothy soups with whole ingredients, you can ladle a few cups of broth into a blender with the caramelized onions and blend until smooth. Then, add the thickened broth back to the pot of soup and stir to combine.