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Category Archives: Soups

French Onion Soup

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I’ve been MIA in the blog world for a little bit and i’m aware. I’ve come down with a little touch of pneumonia recently and with all the added holiday work and stress, it took me about a week and a half to actually realize I was sick. I’ve been blaming my chest pains on employees who don’t listen so lets just keep this little secret to ourselves. They seem to work harder when they think i’m actually capable of a heart attack at 24.  It’s not as bad as it sounds, though. The doc gave me a good ol’ course of antibiotics and i’ll be back to 100% in no time. Plus, on the bright side, it’s given me another excuse to discuss one of my favorite topics; Soup! French Onion to be exact.

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French onion soup is easy to make. Seriously, you should try it. It’s good. You know how you know it’s good? I went out of my way to buy new soup bowls specifically for this recipe. I don’t buy new cookware for just any recipe. Ask around.  I’m not saying i’ll bake you your birthday cake in a sheet because the cake pans are missing, but sometimes soup in a mug is suffice. Plus, I got them in three different colors. Things are getting fancy in my kitchen. I’ve also  finally mastered my brat of a stove. It’s old. I’m not sure how old, but it’s up there. The first time I attempted caramelized onions, I put them on the stove, left to check my email, only to come back to a burnt mess, realizing later that my back burner doesn’t work properly and has no heat regulation. It serves one purpose: cooking on high. It’s fantastic for boiling water.  The front right burner is a little finicky as well. Only the left half of  it works. It makes for a great simmer. The fact that I can finally navigate this stove without burning or under-cooking food has felt like an accomplishment and one of those useless skills that only I seem to appreciate but there’s nothing really to be done about it.  We rent and I’m not about to buy a new stove myself.

In the mean time, if anyone DOES want  to buy me a new stove for Christmas, I’ll happily repay you in bowls of soup.

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French Onion Soup

Caramelizing onions is easy. You can throw some onions on the stove and go check you’re email, just don’t get impatient. There’s a special place in heaven for slowly cooked caramelized onions.  French onion is even better if it sits overnight so don’t feel that you have to serve it immediately. You can get a lot of longevity out of one pot. Just make sure that you aren’t melting cheese over cold soup. Heat your soup first before constructing your french onion. That way you or your guests won’t be digging into some deliciously melty cheese only to find cold soup on the bottom. This is a really simple and delicious soup to make. Besides the cheeses, I find that I usually have all of these ingredients in my kitchen making it inexpensive dish to make as well.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of olive oil plus 3 tablespoons
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 5 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1.5 pounds of sliced onions
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of dry sherry
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • 1 baguette, sliced (1/2 inch)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan
  • 1/4 pound of provolone cheese, thickly sliced
  • 1/4 pound of Swiss cheese, thickly sliced

Directions:

For baguette slices: 

Heat oven to 375 F

Heat a small pot over medium heat and add the 1/2 cup of oil and smashed garlic cloves. Simmer for about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and add three tablespoons of butter. Brush baguette slices on both sides with oil mixture, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for about 5-7 minutes or until golden. Set aside.

For soup: 

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add oil. Add the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper, toss to coat, and cook until the onions are caramelized, about 25 minutes.  If the onions are cooking too fast you can turn the heat down or add a touch more oil. When onions are sufficiently caramelized add the sherry, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until wine has evaporated and the onions are dry. Remove the the thyme springs. Add beef broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for at least 1/2 an hour. Season to taste.

For Serving:

In a wide soup bowl (or a mug if you’re in a pinch), place a couple of the sliced baguettes, poor the soup over them, top with a slice of provolone, a slice of swiss, and sprinkle with parm cheese. The parm will give the cheeses a nice crust. Place under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly.

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Roasted Garlic and Tomato Soup

If I had it my way, People would pay me for my services in big bowls of soup.  Until that happens – thank god it’s getting colder out. I officially have a reason to eat soup without the judgement of my boyfriend who has spent the entire summer scoffing at me and my bowl of clam chowder whilst declaring it “inappropriate to eat in 95 degree weather”.

(editors note: personal research shows that chowder is no less delicious at varying climates).

At this point, it should be no secret to you. I love soup. I’ve had dreams of owning a restaurant that solely sells soup. Yes, I realize this presents a problem if I plan to install soup as a form of currency but i’m working on it. Perhaps it could be an establishment where people come to swap soup with others? I think that’s what we’ll call a “problem solved”.

In the meantime, I will reside to my own kitchen for my next fix and while a chowder is nice – when it comes to winter – there’s one other soup that I just have to have; Tomato Soup.

Paired with a grilled cheese, it makes for the perfect classic cold weather comfort food and every season I love hearing people’s ideas for punching it up a bit. At the suggestion of adding roasted garlic – I must admit, I felt silly that I hadn’t thought of it in the first place. Yes, basil is nice but garlic is better. And roasted garlic? EVEN better.

If you’re in a roast happy mood – why not go the whole nine yards and roast some fresh tomatoes as well. Roasted tomatoes make for a nicer flavor then just opening a can or cooking them down and I would suggest it. Don’t be intimidated by all the sites that tell you it’s impossible to get nicely roasted tomatoes without an 8 hour window of time. You can easily crank up the heat a little higher and acquire perfection in less then half the time. Trust me, I did it and it came out great. (Would I lie to you?).

Roasted Garlic and Tomato Soup

  • 8 Roasted plum tomatoes*
  • 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cups canned plum tomatoes
  • 2 Heads of Roasted Garlic**
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup of Cream (if desired). (I desire).
  • Salt and Pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and saute them until they are golden. Add the wine, raise the heat to high, and reduce until almost dry. Add the stock, canned tomatoes, roasted garlic and roasted tomatoes and reduce by one-quarter. Puree the mixture. I use an immersion blender which makes for a very easy clean up and allows you more control over texture. Add the thyme, honey, cream, and salt and pepper to taste and set aside until just before serving time. Sometimes if I’m in the mood, i’ll add a little feta cheese as a garnish.

*Roasted Tomatoes = Cut tomatoes in half, drizzle with oil and roast at 375  F for about 2 1/2 hours
* Roasted Garlic = Cut the top off the heads of garlic , drizzle with oil and roast in oven at 375 F for about an hour.