Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 9 -Stock and French Onion Soup

After a night of debauchery at Darien's high school reunion, you would think that the last thing I would want to do is make stock and a soup. Well what can I say other than that I am a trooper.

We stayed the night at Darien's long time high school friend Will and his wife Liz's place. They have an adorable five month old son. When Liz was changing him, I remarked that it looked like she was trying to put clothes on Jello. He was wiggling and jiggling all over the place. Darien kept throwing me glances and mouthing both silently and vocally "three more years". Our one bedroom apartment barely holds us and our dog, so he is safe for now.

After fueling up on sausage, eggs, potatoes, waffles and coffee, we drove the hour and half car ride home. I was thrilled to be eating something other than soup for breakfast. In my wine buzz last night, I slightly recall telling our friend Liz I would make her a breakfast sausage soup, and would name it after her. Let us hope I don't run out of soup ideas before that day comes.

On our way home, we stopped at our local "grocery store". Now that I am pissed at them, I am going to come right out and say their name: Gristedes. A.K.A Craptedes, Grosstedes, get my drift. Why am I so enraged? They did not have any celery! For crying out loud, this is not some exotic food item such as persimmon, mangosteen, or burgundy truffle that I am looking for, but a basic food staple.

So, I had to make my stock without celery. Life will go on. This is a stock I have made several times, using Gordon Ramsay's recipe.

Gordon Ramsay's Chicken Stock recipe

Chop one carrot, one onion, two stalks of celery, one leek and place in a pan with 2 tablespoons of oil and cook over medium heat until golden. Add a sprig of thyme, 1 bay leaf, 3 peeled garlic cloves, 2 tbsp of tomato paste, 2 tbsp of flour and cook, stirring for a few minutes. Add 2 1/4lb (1kg) raw chicken or turkey bones, cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to a boil and skim. Simmer for 1 hour or more then pass through a chinois or cheesecloth. Adjust seasoning. Makes about 61/3 cups of stock or 1.5 liters.

In the afternoon, we had a few friends over to play a card game called Munchkin. I tried to make my French onion soup in between playing. After setting a measuring spoon on fire, dropping and breaking a ramekin filled with burning broth loaded with onions all over myself and the floor, and Darien burning himself on the molten Gruyere, we decided the soup was cursed. But, we all concurred that if it was a curse, it was a very delicious one. A curse that our spouses and pets would no doubt be the victims of, as there were 8 whole onions in the soup.

French Onion Soup Recipe
Source: Food Network, Paula Deen

8 onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
8 cups beef stock
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 loaf French bread
2 cups grated Gruyere


Saute onions and garlic in oil over low heat until tender and golden yellow. Sprinkle flour over onions, cook a few minutes more, browning the flour well. Add stock and wine and bring to a boil, add thyme and bay leaf. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 20 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Meanwhile, slice French bread into 3/4-inch slices and butter both sides. Toast slices on griddle until golden brown. Ladle soup into an ovenproof bowl, add toasted bread and cover with cheese. Place ovenproof bowl on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Bake at 350 degrees F or 5 minutes under a hot broiler.

Chef's Note: I just toasted bread in the toaster instead of using a griddle.

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