Sunday, January 8, 2012

French Onion Soup

After deciding to try going without using our freezer for at least part of the year, I had to find something to do with all the bags of frozen pearl onions I bought when they were on sale around Thanksgiving. French Onion Soup sounded good and tasty for the colder weather we're expecting this week. These amount make about a gallon of soup. Reduce amounts to suit your preferences. This is very low carb, despite the addition of a little flour and sugar, but it is definitely not low fat. Yum!

3-4 lbs. beef marrow bones, sawed into  2-4 inch lengths.
3-4 medium sweet onions (Vidalia, Walla Walla, etc.)
5 10 oz. bags frozen pearl onions
1/2 stick unsalted butter
3-4 large cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
1/4 cup white sugar
1 bottle dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Salt to taste (I used 3 Tbsps in the whole batch, but you'll likely want more.)

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Put marrow bones in baking dish and roast for 1 hour.
After roasting, put the bones in a large stock pot with 3 quarts water. Bring to rolling boil, then reduce heat slightly and cover. Cook, at a slow boil for 30 minutes. Remove bones from pot and use knife to loosen marrow, if needed. Return bones and any loose marrow to the pot and cook for another 30 minutes.

While bones are roasting, peel and slice sweet onions. After the hour of roasting is complete, put beef fat in electric skillet. Add half stick butter and heat to melt butter. Set heat to 300 degrees. Add sliced onions and bags of pearl onion to skillet. Stir to coat onion with the butter and beef fat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes.(This will have gotten you past the marrow loosening; the bones will have another 15 minutes to boil.) The goal is to caramelize the onions, cooking them until they are mahogany-colored. If they start to burn, reduce the heat a bit, but don't worry about a few very dark patches.
Add garlic and cook another 5 minutes.

In a medium size bowl, make a slurry with the 1/2 cup flour and a half cup of the wine. Add to onions and garlic and stir thoroughly to distribute the slurry. Cook about 3-5 minutes to remove any raw flour taste. Add  the sugar. Stir.
Pour in remaining wine, stirring to completely incorporate wine. Scrape the bottom of the skillet to remove any bits of onion clinging to the pan. Cook until the liquid is nearly absorbed and very syrupy.

Remove beef bones from stock pot. Add onions to the stock pot and stir. Add salt. Cook until mixture boils, 2-5 minutes. Use immersion blender to completely chop and incorporate onions into the stock. The texture will be that of a thick, slightly chunky, sauce. Taste, and add salt as needed.

To serve traditionally,  ladle soup into earthenware bowls. On each bowl, place a thick slice of toasted baguette. Sprinkle with a generous handful of gouda, swiss, or mozzarella cheese. Place bowls under broiler for 1-3 minutes, until cheese melts and begins to bubble.
To serve without adding the carbs of the bread, put a skillet over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles when dropped onto the cooking surface. Drop 2 oz preferred cheese into small heaps in skillets. Cook until cheese spreads and begins to bubble slightly. This will only take a minute or two, be careful not to burn the cheese. Place each cheese "crisp" on top of soup. Let sit one minute to soften bottom crust of the cheese.


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