Thursday, September 16, 2010

Week 37: Onion Soup

Be warned. This recipe takes FOREVER. It's a food of love thing. Worth it though.

The Recipe
1.5 tbsp butter
0.5 tbsp olive oil
About 350g thinly sliced yellow onions (that's about 3-4 decent sized)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1.5 tbsp flour
1 liter beef stock
1/2 c red or white wine (optional)
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp sage (optional)
Salt & pepper

Melt the butter with the oil in your casserole oven and add the sliced onions. Stir the onions to coat with butter. Cover the pan and cook over med. high heat 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and translucent. Then, uncover the pan, raise the heat closer to high, and stir in the salt and sugar. The sugar helps the onions to caramalize. Cook about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are deep golden brown. Watch out that they don't get too dark brown/black though - burnt onion isn't nice. Don't worry about the brown gunk building up on the bottom of the pan; it's called fond and it adds serious flavor to the soup. Heat up the bouillon in a separate pan.

Lower the head to medium/moderate and add the flour. Stir in the flour well. Add a bit more butter if the flour isn't all absorbed into a paste with the onions. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, to brown the flour. Remove from heat and pour about a cup of hot broth in and stir the heck out of it with a whisk, to blend the flour and broth together (you'll also scrape that marvelous fond off the bottom of the pan).

Put back on heat. Add the rest of the bouillon, the wine, bay, and sage, and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer slowly for 30 to 40 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper.

The fancy way it's served in restaurants is to put a crusty slice of french bread in the bottom of a soup bowl or crock, cover with soup, then with slices of mozzarella cheese. Broil it for just long enough to melt and brown the cheese.

The Verdict
I wasn't completely sure about this recipe as I already have a very delicious and MUCH easier/quicker recipe for an onion soup that I'm absolutely crazy about. I was intrigued by the "love of food" thing though. I cut the recipe in half, and it was perfect for one, however I do think I ought to have adjusted some of the cooking times as well - I only left the onions to caramelize for 15-20 minutes, and they were almost turning black! I may not have been stirring often enough though, so that might have something to do with it as well.

Despite taking forever, the recipe is really easy and worth the effort. I'd say it's as good as my other recipe, but tastes more "high cuisine" somehow (the other is pretty much just onions with bouillon). I'll be making this again, but will be careful with ventilation next time - the entire flat smells like cooked onions now!

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