Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Italian-Style Onion Soup

You are looking at the photograph above and probably thinking– ‘Huh? Onion Soup and NO melted cheese?’ Well, that was my thought too when Denise (my American mom) described it to me. She fed this to me when I visited her in the winter this year and also gifted me the cookbook she made it from. Sara Molten, one of her favorite chefs wrote this recipe for a quick weeknight meal. 
And after this version, I have to say I am quite a convert! The classic French Onion Soup still sits high in my favorite soup list, but this sits right beside it. 
This recipe is a bit of a tweak from Sara Molten’s, because of my loyalty to my Nani (my maternal grandmother) and her amazing and famous Onion Soup. And also because I am a good Hindu who avoids cooking with beef and its products at home. Onion Soup traditionally is always made with beef broth. 
To make it a classic French Onion Soup use beef broth instead of the chicken one I used. Add in a sprig of fresh thyme while it cooks and once ladled into a bowl top very generously with gruyere cheese and broil it until the cheese melts over. A nice tweak is to add the pulp of an entire bulb of roasted garlic when you add the water at the last step and let the soup simmer with the garlic.
Serves 4
60 minutes
  1. 1.Heat 1 tbsp unsalted butter in a large pot. Cut two strips of bacon into small pieces and cook it in the large pot on medium heat until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. 2.In the same pot melt another 1 tbsp of a unsalted butter and add 1 leek choppedand 2 white onions sliced. Add 4 tsp of soup base or 1 stock cube. Mix well, cover and cook on low, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. 
  3. 3.Remove the cover, increase the heat to medium and cook the onions, stirring occasionally for another 20 minutes until browned. 
  4. 4.Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup red wine and let the wine boil to evaporate the alcohol.
  5. 5.Add 4 cups water, 1 tsp mustard, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and leave it on low for another 10 minutes.
  6. 6.While the soup is simmering poach 4 eggs.
  7. 7.Ladle soup into an onion soup bowl or any soup bowl. Top with a poached egg, a sprinkle of the bacon, chopped fresh parsley and a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese. A splash of cognac or balsamic vinaigrette is optional.

    There is the traditional way of poaching an egg by dropping the cracked egg into a water and vinegar mixture and folding over the whites so that it doesn’t break.
    Or you can buy a poacher for $7.99 from Bed, Bath & Beyondand do it in minutes stress free!

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