Some time ago I excitedly bought a 5 kg sack of pickling onions extremely cheaply from a greengrocers in Fleetwood.
Over the course of two afternoons, I painstakingly peeled the lot of them, blanching them first to loosen the skins.
My fingernails ended up orange!
I did pickle some of them, and very nice they were too. But the real benefit from this exercise was the bags of tiny onions I froze, they’re wonderful in stews throughout the winter months.
I thought I’d finished them all ages ago, but when I was clearing out the freezer, lo and behold there was a small bag left! Rather than a stew, I thought this time I’d use them in another of my oven soups. A light, comforting broth with carrots as the main ingredient. The sweet tiny onions are poached whole, and there’s fresh basil and parsley added at the end for freshness. And delicious it is too!
You could certainly use normal onion, but it won’t be as pretty!
makes 3 to 4 servings
2 carrots (around 200 g), finely diced
2 sticks of celery, finely diced
2 large spring onions, finely sliced
16 tiny onions, (or 1 small onion, chopped)
1 litre light vegetable stock, hot
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 a small tin of sweetcorn, 75 g
2 sprigs of basil, separate the leaves and stalks and chop the leaves
a small handful of parsley, separate the leaves and stalks and chop the leaves
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees c.
Put the carrots, celery, spring onions, tiny onions and marjoram in an casserole pan with a lid. Pick a long bendy parsley stalk and use it to tie the rest of the basil and parsley stalks together. This way you get the flavour, but can remove them easily at the end of the cooking time. Add them to the pot, along with the stock.
Cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour until the vegetables are soft, adding the sweetcorn for the last 10 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir through the chopped herbs just before serving.