All of the onions from this weeks farm share made me wonder what I could make with a ton of onions. I myself (or my husband for that matter) are members of the onion appreciation committee. BUT my mother-in-law is an onion fanatic. Fanatic in a sense that she will sneak onions from the cutting board and steal cooking onions from the pot on the stove. So, I figured what else can I do with 3 pounds of onion? French onion soup! This version uses vegetable broth instead of the traditional beef stock – making it suitable for the veggie crowd. If you’re looking to make a vegan version, swap the butter with olive oil and use a vegan cheese.
This dish, as simple as it is does take some time to prepare but is well worth the wait! Enjoy!
RECOMMENDED SUPPLIES: Soup crocks! If you do not have soup crocks on hand, you CAN use a casorole dish and layer your bread and cheese on top of it.
In a stock pot of dutch oven over medium-low heat, add butter and sliced yellow onions. Stir until they are well coated with the melted butter.
Cover and allow to cook for about 25 minutes until they are soft and translucent.
Remove lid and increase heat to medium-high to begin caramelizing. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and stir frequently until the onions become golden brown. If they look like they are cooking too rapidly, reduce your heat! Be careful not to burn.
Once your onions have caramelized, Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of white wine. Stir stir stir until you scrap up all of the fond from the pot.
Once the wine has cooked off, deglaze again with the cognac stirring and scraping the pan.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add your flour, stirring frequently to form a thick paste for about 2-3 minut. If this doesn't happen, add another tablespoon of butter.
Add the vegetable stock, thyme and bay leaves to the pot and stir well. Cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
While your soup is simmers, now is a great time to make your "croutes" - aka toasted bread.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Drizzle each side of the bread slices with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Cook the bread for 15 minutes on each side until they are toasty and hard. Remove from oven and set aside.
Increase oven temperature to 350.
Back to the soup... Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs and discard. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour your soup into several soup crocks and add a few thinly sliced raw shallots on top.
Layer a couple pieces of croutes on top. Then add a thick layer of shredded Swiss cheese on top, making sure you cover the bread well to prevent it from burning.
Place soup crocks on a baking dish (trust me, the cheese will melt and make a huge mess if you don't do this). Place in the oven for 30 minutes until cheese has browned.
Depending on your oven, you may have to turn it to broil for a couple minutes to achieve the browned cheesy goodness.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Boeuf Bourguignon, or as I like to call it; Fancy French peasant food. The cold days of the Pacific Northwest have arrived with the recent frosts, a time for good rib-sticking meals. Stews were a great way for peasants to cook tough, unwanted cuts of meat in order to make them more palatable and frankly, they are freaking delicious. Boeuf Bourguignon is one of my favorites, slow cooked in rich Burgundy wine while channeling your inner Julia Child. You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”
Depending on the cut of meat you’re using, you may want to add some addition fat. I tend to use a round roast or brisket. Some recipes call for the addition of a little bacon (if you’d like). For leaner cuts of meat, I will add a tablespoon or two of reserved bacon fat which I’ve included below versus adding chunks of bacon. I also use cheap Burgundy wine for the cooking portion. Save the expensive stuff for the drinking portion.
Season your stew meat with 1 tbsp of salt and and 1 tsp of fresh ground pepper. Once seasoned, take a few paper towels and DRY the meat really well on all sides. This will help with the searing of the meat.
In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat to medium-high and add 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Once the oil is hot, add your meat a little at a time in batches without overcrowding the pot. Sear on each side for about 4-5 minutes. Add your finished meat to a separate bowl and set aside as you sear each batch.
Now add the shallots to the pot and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Lower the heat to medium high until the shallots are golden brown (about 10 minutes). Sprinkle flour over them. Continue to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add you Burgundy wine.
With a wooden spoon, scrape up all of the goodies stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring your wine to a boil.
Return your meat back to the pot. Add the garlic, bouquet garni and beef stock. You want the liquid to cover the meat by 1/3 so if it's not quite covering everything, go ahead a add a little more stock to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook covered for 1 hour. Be sure to give it a good stir every 15 minutes so you don't scorch the sauce.
After cooking for 1 hour, add your carrots and pearl onions. (I like to add them at this stage so the carrots and onion are not mushy. If you like your carrots soft, add them at the previous step) Continue to cook covered for anther 45 minutes. Your meat should be getting close to being fork tender at this stage.
Next, remove your lid and check the consistency of your stew. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes uncovered - allowing the stew to thicken up. You want it to be a similar consistency to gravy and not too runny. Once your stew has thickened, remove the bouquet garni and discard. Add 1/4 cup of fresh chopped parsley. If needed, add salt to taste.
Serve along side roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes or some mashed cauliflower.