Soup season is here, and we are here for it! There is nothing quite like soup to warm your soul and fill your stomach on a chilly day. Soup has been part of mankind’s diet for centuries. In fact, historians believe that the first bowl of soup was cooked up sometime around 20,000 BC using clay pots or bowls made of mud.
Soup recipes have come a long way from those simple broths. The modern foodie can enjoy soups from every culture and region of the world, each with unique ingredients, spices, and aromas. We’re here to highlight our favorite soup component and offer a few pro-tips for making perfect soups this season. You guessed it: We’re talking about onions.
Transform Your Soups with Onions
Onions make an excellent soup ingredient because they are so versatile. Depending on their preparation, they can offer distinctive flavor profiles and take a soup from good to great. Onions offer a complex umami – or savory – taste that can boost up meat-based stocks like chicken or beef or contribute needed depth to a vegetable stock.
Using onions in soup is also an easy way to add moisture to the mixture without adding additional liquids like water that could dilute flavors and spices.
Let’s not forget the health benefits of using onions in your recipes, too. Onions are jam-packed with essential nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, antioxidants, and potassium. Regularly including onions in your diet has been proven to improve heart health, better control blood sugar, and even increase bone density. All that to say, an apple a day may be good, but an onion a day may be better. No offense to the apples.
As an added bonus, onions are inexpensive and long-lasting — especially if you are using a Gills Onion. Our value-added onions have the longest shelf life in the industry, staying fresh and ready to use for at least 18 days. And, from soil to seed to storage, our onions are carefully cultivated to deliver the best taste and virtually no odor.
Prepping Your Onions for Flavorful Soups
Onions are part of the triad of vegetables that make Mirepoix: onions, carrots, and celery. Mirepoix is the base for thousands of delicious recipes including many soups. And, even on its own, onion is a common soup component around the world. You can use onion in your own soup-making in a variety of ways:
- Sauté. Cook onions and a small amount of your favorite cooking oil over high heat. The goal is to cook, stirring occasionally, until your onions are golden brown. This is a great first step to making a roux or soup base.
- Sweat. Sweating an onion is similar to sauteing, except you’ll cook the onion by itself over low heat until the onions become soft and clear. You don’t want to brown them, just soften the texture and release those sweet flavors.
- Caramelize. The caramelization process is slow and sensitive, but it produces the deepest, sweetest onion flavor. You’ll sweat your onions over medium-low heat and add a little bit of water anytime they start to brown quickly or look dry. Adding the water keeps the natural sugars in the onion from burning. Once browning begins, turn your heat to low and keep stirring every few minutes. The longer your onions cook, the sweeter they will be.
- Fresh cut. Fresh cut onions are great as a topper on soups and chilis. They bring a stronger, sharper flavor than the sweet flavors of sauteed, sweated, or caramelized onions, but they lift recipes with their clean taste and crisp texture.
Get Started with These Recipes
Ready to elevate your soup season with onions? You can’t go wrong with some of our favorite recipes.
- Chickpea Curry Chili
- Chicken Congee Soup
- Sweet Potato Split Pea Corn Chowder
- Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup
- French Onion Soup
- Smoked Turkey and Caramelized Onion Braised Greens
And, if you have your own favorites to share, tag us on social media @gillsonions, and check out our other onion-loving social content at the links below:
Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department.