Sunday, December 18, 2011
It’s officially time to pull the Dutch oven off the shelf where it quietly rested all summer – we’ve got some work to do.
Onions are one of those things that have grown on me as my palate has become more refined - aka older and less picky – particularly caramelized onions. A little butter, a little olive oil, a pinch of sugar, couple pinches of salt, some patience (cue GNR’s whistling) and wow, serious flavor. I could eat them just like that and sometimes do, but what’s the point when you can add delicious broth and a gooey cheese topper? Sometimes you just crave gooey cheese.
A friend and I were talking about French Onion soup the other day. **Side note: I’ve recently had it at Central twice now and theirs is quite good, but I have yet to find any in the city better than Bistro Bis’. Its amazing.** The funny thing about our conversation was that my friend is a vegetarian and had no idea that the base of this soup is beef broth. She was going on about how delicious it is and we agreed that it was the perfect thing on a cold day and WAM – I broke the news to her. We had a good laugh considering she also eats bacon when I make it and my homemade chicken nuggets (will have to post about those soon – way healthier and tastier than anything you could ever buy). So yeah, moral of the story is, CMcD = vegetarian schmegitarian. Love ya! J
I don’t follow a recipe for this, so below is basically just a listing of what ends up getting thrown in the pot. You may like beef broth only, or chicken only, or less broth more onion – that’s the beauty of cooking yourself, you make it how you like it….but I do think my version is quite good. So put on your comfy pants and your favorite plaid flannel shirt (fitted and buttoned all the way please), grab a bowl and enjoy!
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 large yellow onions, cut in half then into slices about 1/8” thick
Few pinches kosher salt
Couple pinches sugar
4 cups beef broth
1 ½ - 2 cups chicken broth
¼ - ½ tsp dried thyme
Few shakes garlic powder
1 beef bouillon cube
In a large dutch oven or heavy pot, melt the butter into the olive oil. Add the onions and let them cook slowly on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally. After about 3-4 minutes, add the salt and sugar and continue cooking and stirring until the onions become a golden brown color. This will take about an hour or so. Low and slow is the key, you don’t want them to get crispy at all.
When they’re golden brown, add the broth, thyme and garlic powder. When warmed through, taste and determine if the bouillon is necessary. I mix chicken and beef broth because I think the combination gives the soup a deeper, richer flavor, however I also like that punch of beef flavor, hence the one cube. Be careful with added salt. I try to buy low sodium broth so I can control the amount of salt myself. The bouillon will add more though. After the initial few pinches when cooking the onions, I didn’t need to add anymore.