Tuesday, December 8, 2009
A Simmering Pot of Goodness!
There is just something comforting about having a pot simmering away in the kitchen. Sometimes the smell of chicken stock simmering makes me happy, today it's the smell of onions caramelizing. Considering that I work late most evenings, I think of ways that would make me be able to still cook at home and pack away food for a weeknight where I want something light and comforting. Fortunately, having the morning to myself allows me to prepare such small masterpieces!
This morning I decided to make French Onion Soup! A classic in every since of the word. It's a recipe that is extremely simple, in fact a real recipe is not even needed! Simply slice about 5-6 onions into thin half moons and set aside. Meanwhile get a large stock pot or cast iron and place about 4-5 tablespoons of butter and about a quarter size of olive oil. (The oil will prevent the butter from burning) When the butter has melted add the onions, a pinch of salt and about a tablespoon or so of sugar to help caramelize the onions. Over a nice medium-low heat allow the onions to brown gently. You don't want to walk away completely, but you definitely do not want to continuously stir as you will cause steaming instead of browning. Every now and then move the onions around to make sure they aren't burning and to ensure that all the onions pick up that rich deep color and deepness of flavor we are trying to achieve. After about 20 minutes or so, they should be golden and delicious! (You can also cool them at this point and use as an onion marmalade on top of crostinis or as a condiment on burgers etc!) Next, add about a tablespoon or so of flour and cook for about 2 minutes, then deglaze with white wine or dry sherry. Remember to only use a wine that you would actually enjoy! Continue to cook until most of the wine has evaporated and left all those delicious hints of flavor!!! Lastly add your stock. Depending on whether you made this or not (hopefully you have!) you will need to adjust your seasoning/amount of liquid you add. If its too salty you may have to dilute it a bit with water. Remember as things simmer/reduce the flavors intensify so allow the soup to continue cooking and at the end readjust the seasoning. Meanwhile toast some good, flavorful rustic bread (love the bread from Di Palo's in Little Italy, Balthazar's or Amy's Bread!) with olive oil and top with good quality, self grated Gruyere cheese.
Now the part we have been patiently awaiting for--serve yourself a big bowl, topped with the cheesy baguette and enjoy! Hmmm.........delicious! Or cool to room temp and refrigerate or freeze this way you have a comforting warm meal awaiting you after a long day's work! Now that is good stuff!
Posted by Chef Raquel Rivera-Pablo