I live to eat and love to cook. Welcome to my life!

November 17, 2009

Cry Baby Soup

OK really? Refrigerated onions? Don't cut the root end until the very end? Chewing gum? An unlit matchstick under your tongue? Lighting a candle? Bread in your mouth? Carrot up your nose? Cutting underwater? A lit cigarette in your mouth (a la Peg Bundy!) Breathing just through your mouth?

And don't even mention putting on swim goggles while slicing up an onion, it just ain't gonna happen. Although I am assured by my moms best friend from college that it does indeed work for her.

Maybe I am sensitive, but I ALWAYS cry when cutting onions. There are none of the above that have worked for me and believe me, I have tried most of them. Fresh onions, old onions, shallots are especially bad....my eyes tear up and I dab. Then I dab again. Then I use my bicep and sleeve to rub away the tears. Then I rub my knuckles in to my eye sockets to try and alleviate the burning. (Yes, I know this is bad for me and my skin, but like a 3 year old I really don't care). With mascara and tears running down my face I then slap my knife down, wash my hands and run to the bathroom to wipe off the evidence and blow my nose.

Because we all know, crying makes your stupid nose run. Especially in allergy season. Which is year round for me now.

So glad I was home alone for this because truthfully I looked like hell. And if I can't be truthful with you then why am I here?

Oh the lowly onion. You are kind of a pain in the ass to peel. Stinky and sharp when raw (except those few lovely sweet varieties!). Exuding amino acid sulfoxides when we cut you, our eyes well up with tears...I cry....I cry.....

Sorry, momentary lapse in to what I thought might be poetry.

For reals though...the onion is the base for all stocks and broths....the foundation of sauces on every continent...they come in multiple shapes, colors and degrees of stinky & sweet. Yet there are a multitude of ways that onions are prepared to complement or enhance a dish, but only a few where it is the star.

Tonight I made French Onion Soup with Guinness where the onion is the true star of the meal. A nod to a version Brock & I have enjoyed many times in downtown Ventura at Dargans combined with my own culinary idols recipe from her book "How to Cook". Um, that would be Julia just in case you didn't know.

Remember how I have waxed poetic on the virtues of homemade stock????? This is where it comes in to play. No bouillion in the world is going to make this soup taste as good as a homemade stock or broth.

Guinness French Onion Soup

3 Large onions, sliced thin
3 T butter
1 T peanut or vegetable oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 T flour
48 oz (6 cups) Beef stock
1-16oz can of Guinness
(They come in 4 packs, drink the rest or serve to your loved one)
Salt to taste

Sourdough bread slices, about 3/4" thick
1/2 C Gruyere Cheese
1/2 C Swiss Cheese

Melt the butter and add oil, add onions and saute on high for 10 minutes until translucent. Add sugar and salt and turn on med/low. Stir often for about 30-45 minutes until brown and caramelized...scrape the bottom of the pan as needed.

**Note & FYI the sugar helps the onions to caramelize...as referenced in the pear bread pudding, sugar + butter = caramel flav-ah = goooooo-ooood!

Add flour when the onions are dark and stir thoroughly. Add 2 cups of stock and stir....add the rest of the stock and stir. Then turn up to a simmer and cook for about an hour.

Toast the bread in the oven, remove and cover with the shredded cheese. Broil until melt-y. Serve the soup topped with the cheesy bread and enjoy! Just like my handsome guy below. :)

**And for the cheap eats tag....if you don't have enough to buy Guinness, just make it all with beef broth or stock. :)

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