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!
For as much mexican food that I cook, I do not write down enough recipes as I should. This one is a family favorite and is quite addictive! You can adjust the heat level by omitting a jalepeno or two. Depending on how much heat your peppers pack, the recipe below is what I would consider a 7/10 for spiciness. Removing the seeds can also bring down the heat if you prefer. You do need quite a few carrots for this recipe but you can adjust it to one jar versus four. One bunch of carrots should generally be enough to fill a small pint jar! If you’re not familiar with canning or pickling, check out the following links for a little crash course in proper sanitation. I strongly suggest visiting the National Center for Home Food Preservationon how to prepare your jars, ensure proper sanitation, acidity levels and cook time. The following topics you should check out before starting are:
I this recipe we are only PICKLING which requires a simple water bath. No pressure canner needed! YAY! For this recipe you will need the following:
4 pint canning jars (Ball brand is best)
4 rings and new lids
A canning pot with a rack or a large pot & heatproof rack that fits into the bottom of the pot
Lid wand or thongs to lift the lids from the hot water
Clean rag to clean the rims of the jars
Before starting, be sure to prepare your equipment and jars. Follow all of the proper sanitization steps! Visit the GUIDE TO WATERBATH CANNING link provided above.
Toast your cumin seeds in a dry skillet on medium heat till just fragrant. Remove them to a plate or bowl so they don't overcook. Set aside.
Combine vinegar, sugar, water and salt in a large non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Add your sliced carrots, onions and jalapeños to the pot. Return to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
While your carrots are marinating, remove your sterilized jars from the water and place them on a clean towel.
In EACH jar: Add 1/2 tsp of mexican oregano, 1/2 tsp toasted cumin seeds, 3 peppercorns, 1/2 tsp coriander seeds and 1 clove of garlic.
Fill each of the jars with the carrot, onion, jalepeno and vinegar mixture to within 1/2" of the rim. Wipe the rims with a clean cloth. Using a lid wand or thongs, remove the lids from the hot water and place on the jar. Tighten rings until just finger tight. Do not over-tighten.
To process the jars: Using a jar lifter, return jars to the pot of warm water on your stove. Place them on the rack without touching each-other or the sides of the pot. Add more water IF the water does not cover your jars by 1 or 2 inches. Cover and bring to a boil.
Once your pot reaches BOIL, set your timer and boil for 10 minutes. Then, remove from heat and allow to sit for another 5 minutes. Use a jar lifter to remove the jars and place on a clean towel. Allow to sit for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, remove the rings and check the seals by pressing on the center of the lid. There should be a concave indention signifying that everything worked! If you have one or two that did not seal, you can store them in your refrigerator. Sealed, processed jars should keep for up to a year when stored at room temperature.