Soupe à l’oignon – French Onion Soup

Dedicated to my mother who LOVES French Onion Soup, and who introduced it to me.
Vegetarian Variation is dedicated to Abigail Wickes, my favorite vegetari-friend.

Ingredients:
5-6 Vidalia Onions or Sweet Yellow Onions, cut in 1/8″ wedges
3 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Sherry
6 cups Beef Broth
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Bouquet Garni – 4 sprigs Thyme, 2 springs Parsley, 2 Bay Leaves, wrapped in twine
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Baguette, cut in 1/2 inch pieces (about 6 pieces)
2-2 1/2 cups Gruyère, shredded

Directions:

  • Heat a large pot on the stove on low heat, with the Butter, Onions, and Salt.
  • Cook until the Onions start to break down, and turn a warm color, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the Sherry (careful of flames), and deglaze any pieces of Onion. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the Beef Broth, and deglaze again. Onions should start turning darker. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
  • Add the Garlic, the Bouquet Garni, and the remaining Beef Broth. Taste and add Pepper and/or Salt to taste. Scrape any pieces of onion from the bottom of the pan, and raise the heat to high.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower to medium, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • After about 15 minutes of simmering, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Arrange the Baguette slices on a baking sheet, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or just until starting to crisp.
  • When the Soup and Croûtons are finished, remove from heat.
  • Ladle the Soup into oven-safe bowls (1 bowl per person, about 6-bowls), leaving space for the Croûtons to rest on top. Discard the Bouquet Garni when you get to it.
  • Place bowls on the baking sheet; add the Croûtons, and cover with the Gruyère.
  • Turn on the Broiler, and carefully place the baking sheet as close to it as possible. If this is an electric broiler, you will need to raise your rack to the top level PRIOR to turning it on, keeping in mind it will be hot from the making of the Croûtons. If this is a bottom broiler, place in the drawer, and push it in.
  • Broil for about 4-6 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly with a few touches of brown. Be careful removing the baking sheet from the oven, as it and the contents on it will be extremely hot. Serve each bowl on a small plate, so as to help absorb the heat

Serves about 6.

NOTES: Onion Soup is one of the oldest soups that is known, with documents showing its production back to at least the Roman times. In the 1960s there was a resurgence of French cooking, and the “French Onion Soup” hit its American hay-day. Now most diners and steakhouses serve some variation of the soup. What is amazing, is how many actually taste GOOD–folks giving in to high-sodium broths, and dried herbs. This is easily one of my favorite soups.

Variations:
M›Ṽ – Use Mushroom or Vegetable Stock instead of Beef Stock, and add 1 drop of Liquid Smoke to give it a deeper flavor.

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Corned Beef Brisket & Vegetables

Ingredients:
8-10 Allspice Pods
15-20 Peppercorns
2 Bay Leaves
2 Thyme Sprigs
1 4lb prepared Corned Beef Brisket
3 cups Beef Broth
Water, as needed
1 medium White Onion, cut in chunks
1 clove Garlic, minced
3-4 Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
2 medium Rutabagas, cut in chunks
1 small head Savoy Cabbage, cut into quarters

Directions:

  • In a large Saucepan, place the Corned Beef Brisket, Spices, Onions, Garlic, and Beef Broth. Cover with the Beef Broth and additional water if necessary. The Brisket should be floating about 1 inch above the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil. Foam will begin to form on the water top, skim this off and discard.
  • Once at a boil, reduce the heat, and cover. Simmer like this for 3 hours.
  • Add the Potatoes, Rutabagas, and Cabbage, and simmer for an additional 45 minutes, or until the Potatoes and Rutabagas are tender.
NOTES:To serve, remove the vegetables to a bowl, and the brisket to a cutting board. Cut across the grain when serving.
It is suggested by some that Corned Beef Brisket is not completely an “Irish” meal from Ireland…but rather an “Irish” meal from New York, where the potatoes and cabbage would be pared with a Jewish-inspired brisket. I do not know if this is entirely true, and frankly, it tastes so good I could care less.

Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients:
1 lb Ground Beef (you can use sliced beef too, cut into bite-size pieces)
1/2 cup White Onion, diced
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 cups Button Mushrooms, sliced
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Dill
1/2 tsp Cardamom
1 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Butter
1/3 cup White Wine (Pinot Grigio)
1/2 cup Beef Broth

Egg Noodles, cooked al dente, drained

Directions:

  • In a large Skillet, melt the Butter and add the Onions, Garlic, and Beef.
  • When Beef is browned, add White Wine, Beef Broth, Spices and Mushrooms. Let cook down for 5 minutes.
  • Add the Sour Cream and incorporate into the whole mixture.
  • Season to Taste (you can add more Dill or Cardamom if desired).
  • Serve over Egg Noodles.

Variations:
Substituted Ground Chicken or Ground Turkey to cut down on the fat.