The alarm did it. Again. This was supposed to be different, and better. We’d been counting off the days on the calendar. One after another they were mentally crossed off. Weeks ago I looked at this Sunday as the one where we finally lacked commitments and shoots and it was destined to be different. Start differently. After a long slumber we would ease from our beds at an hour we’d normally scoff at. But this time no guilt could be seen on our faces. It was perfect. Until the alarm clock got in the way.
After a hectic pace that has carried us through the last few weeks without a day off, we were looking forward to a day in slow motion. Living slowly and relaxed. Sleeping in and then soaking up the extended time in bed. Just the two of us, with no plans and nothing to do. A day for us. Together. These are my favourite moments of all.
When the alarm went off we woke up abruptly. My eyes felt the pain of sleep’s denial. It was fast, uneasy and everything we didn’t want to have happen. But, life awaited. So we got to work. W edited pictures and I went off to the market with my dog Jack. The two of us for a car ride, a luxury for him. He enjoyed the cool wind brushing up against his face. His eyes told me so. And we came home refreshed and ready to sink into the day.
I really can’t think of the last time I had a chance to spend some quality time in the kitchen. It felt great. Within minutes those old favourite aromas filled the house. That familiar call from upstairs came shortly after, telling me how great everything smelled. Although the day didn’t start as planned, we were well on our way now.
Every time fall creeps in, we find ourselves longing for the foods that have comforted us through the years. The memories flood back and the old constant companions start finding a place on our kitchen table. This is one of those kinds of meals. It warms us up, feeds our souls and leaves us happy. Every time.
I remember the first time I made an onion soup for my wife. She was just my girlfriend at the time and had never had any variation of onion soup. So instead of playing around, I went straight to the grand daddy of them all. French onion. She was amazed as much by how much she loved it as the fact that she had never had it before. From then on it has become that cold, rainy day soup that always finds itself on the stove ready to cure that darkness outside.
Since then I’ve played around with the soup, knowing that she basically loves the caramelized onions and that deep, rich flavour it holds. So, I still make french onion for us quite a bit but now I also make other kinds of onion soup. Like this one, a slow-cooked onion and sage soup that is flavourful and intense and everything we love in a cold weather soup.
As the afternoon rolled around I had this ready for us. I filled a couple of bowls with as many browned onions as possible and just enough stock to carry it home. Topped with a tart aged cheddar and crisp toast with sage, it’s the perfect lunch meal to share with your loved ones on cold days to come. It helped us forget just how the day started.
Weeks ago I looked at this Sunday as the one that was destined to be different. Better. And, lucky for us, it’s exactly as I had hoped it would be. With great food, amazing company and no place else to be.
From my kitchen to yours,
Onion and Sage Soup with Aged Cheddar Toasts
- 4 large onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 3 tbsp. sage, chopped
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 3 cups beef stock
- 4 slices of baguette
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cup grated aged white cheddar
- Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and 2 tbsp. of sage and cook for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium and, stirring often, cook for another 10 minutes, or until the onions darken and become caramelized.
- Add in the wine and stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any bits. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for ten minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Rub each baguette slice with garlic. Combine remaining 1 tbsp. sage with old cheddar and top baguette slices. Add to oven and cook until golden, about five minutes.
- Spoon into two bowls and top with two cheddar toasts on top. Place a sage leaf on each. Serves 2.