Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Soup's On

Today was Soup Day.  I made chicken stock and five onion soup with beer. 

One of my favorite fall treats is soup.  I think it goes back to eating soup and sandwiches when I was growing up.  Whether at my aunt's house or my own home, I ate chicken soup, always homemade, and salami sandwiches on Italian bread from the bakery.

There was soup on my father's side of the family, too, but Borscht is not on my list of favorites.

I have three quarts of chicken stock in the freezer.  I prefer to use homemade stock for soups, but I do use Swanson broth and stock when I am cooking.  It just seems a shame to throw out parts of the chicken that nobody eats, like the back.  And I prefer to buy my chickens whole, not cut up.  So, when I've got four or five pounds of bones in the freezer, I make stock.

Since I had a bag of onions in the pantry, and I knew they had been there awhile, I decided to make the onion soup.  This is a recipe that was part of a six-week series of cooking classes I took.  One whole night was devoted to soup.  I've made some adjustments so that you will not make enough for an army. 

 
Five Onion Soup with Beer
 
 
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup red onion, quartered and sliced
4 cups yellow onion, quartered and sliced
1 cup diced leeks, white and light green parts only
1 cup chopped shallots
1 cup sliced green onions
4 1/2 tsp flour
1/2 cup beer, good quality, mild flavor
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups beef stock
Sachet prepared with 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, 4 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Salt as needed
Champagne or sherry vinegar, as needed
 
Heat the butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Cook the white and red onions until caramelized.  This will take some time, don't rush it.  Stir as needed.
 
Add the leeks, shallots and green onions and cook for three minutes.
 
Sprinkle with the flour and stir.  Cook for three minutes, stirring as needed.
 
Slowly add the beer and sticks.  Add sachet (a tea infuser will work well) and the bay leaf. 
 
Simmer for 20 - 30 minutes to develop flavors.
 
Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and a few drops of the vinegar. (the vinegar will balance the flavors, don't skip it)  If you used low salt or no salt stock, you may need to add more salt than you expected.  Remove bay leaf.
 
Serve with crusty bread and grated Gruyere cheese.  Makes 7- 8 cups.

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