Today is the first Wednesday following the Feast of Saint Lucia and the Festival of Lights. It marks the first Ember Days of Advent in the Catholic Calendar of old.
Ember Days are observed four times a year, in keeping with the changing seasons. Advent Sunday marked the beginning of a new Church Year, so the Ember Days of Advent are the first Ember Days of the new year.
The days are tied to the seasons as a way to give thanks to God for His blessings. To be rich in God’s eyes has nothing to do with your bank account, or position in life. Riches are measured by the goodness of your soul, by the love and compassion you feel toward your fellow man. And by submission for His glory. Submission is not a reflection of weakness. On the contrary, to submit to the will of God takes far more strength than to do as we please for ourselves. Think of it as passing on that slice of cake rather than to give in to the temptation of what we want. Yeah, now ask yourself which is the sign of strength?
Ember Days, while not days of obligation, do provide yet another opportunity to grow in a love for the Lord, and to cultivate a faith that will see us through even the most difficult of moments. We are encouraged to pray, to give thanks, to search for the blesses that are often overlooked.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never let me forget all the Lord has done.
Let the Lord be our refuge, from generation to generation.
O Lord, graciously look down upon the hands of Your servants and upon the work of their hands. For it is You who gives food for the harvest, and preserves the fruits of the earth, that the needy may be filled with good things.
Let all praise the glory of the bounty of the Lord. Through Jesus Christ, strengthen us in faith.
Nothing warms the body and spirit like a warm bowl of soul. This Bisque is so rich, so satisfying, it might just fill you with an inner joy. Happy Ember Days to all!
Caramelized Onion Roasted Garlic Bisque
1 large Head Garlic
1-1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil divided
4 large White Onions
2 medium Leeks
1 teaspoon Salt divided use
1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
2 tablespoons Flour
1/3 cup dry White Wine
4 cups Chicken Stock
1-3/4 cups Milk
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
Fresh Chives, garnish
Fresh Black Pepper, garnish
Heat oven to 350-degrees
Remove papery outer skin from the garlic head (do not peel or separate the cloves). Rub 1/2 tablespoon oil on garlic head, and wrap it in foil. Bake for 1 hour; let cool 10 minutes.
Separate cooled garlic cloves, remove the skin Place the garlic in a small dish and set aside aside until ready to use.
While the garlic roasts, peel onions, slice thin and set aside. Clean leeks. Using only the light green and white parts, slice and set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and leek, and cook uncovered 30 minutes, stirring often. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and thyme. Cook an additional 30 minutes, uncovered, or until onions are a dark golden color, stirring occasionally. If onions cook too fast, add a little water to slow cooking process, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture; cook 1 minute longer. Add wine and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.
Place the roasted garlic in the bowl of a blender, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cooked onion mixture. Process until smooth.
Note: This may need to be done in two batches depending on the size of your blender.
Pour the blended mixture back to the large stockpot; add milk and simmer 8 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with snips of chives and fresh black pepper as desired.
Beautiful, rich and satisfying. Warm Naan Bread is the perfect accompaniment.