Beer-and-Onion Soup

3 pounds onions
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2 cups vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups dark beer or stout
1 1/4 cups cream
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
Dash Tabasco sauce
Pepper, to taste
2 to 4 teaspoons sugar, depending on the bitterness of the beer
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
4 egg yolks
Hot paprika (optional)
Toasted croutons (optional)

Peel the onions, halve them crosswise and slice them. Cook them slowly with the garlic in the butter until all the onions are transparent and soft, about 1 hour. Add the vegetable broth and, in batches of 2 or 3 cups, puree the mixture in a blender or food processor.

Pour the puree into a large pot together with the beer and cream. Add the salt, paprika, Tabasco sauce, pepper, sugar and vinegar, and simmer the mixture, stirring often, for about 20 minutes.

Beat the egg yolks with a whisk. Continue to beat them as you add a small amount of the hot soup, then pour the egg-yolk mixture into the pot with the rest of the soup and whisk it all together quickly (if the eggs begin to scramble, simply run the soup through a blender). Cook the soup a few minutes more over very low heat, stirring constantly. It should be slightly thickened.

Serve the soup very hot and sprinkle a little hot paprika on top if you like, or garnish with croutons and Parmesan cheese.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

— "The Vegetarian Epicure, Book Two," by Anna Thomas


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