Saturday, June 20, 2009

French Onion soup.

Some how this blog has really turned into something incredibly food dominant. I guess I just like to eat, and now that I’m not in school for the summer I have been having time to experiment with food. More on crafts soon I promise! I made a wrap skirt, but didn't take any process pictures, so I’m trying to figure out how to explain what I did.

My Great Grandpa Papou Mancy opened a steak house in Toledo Ohio back in the day. It’s called Mancy’s and it’s still there. My great Uncle John ran it after his father died, and now his son runs the place. Mancy’s has this awesome French onion soup that they have spent years perfecting, and since I haven’t had it in about 2 years I decided I wanted some. I told my grandma to call her brother and get the recipe, but of course he didn't answer, and it’s just as well, as I’m sure he wouldn't appreciate my posting his recipe online. (UPDATE: They put it on Pinterest! If you follow me you can find it) I did however make some French onion soup, and as always I played around with it so it is nothing like what I found online.

6 sweet (Vidalia) onions. (or 4 if you use Texas sweet onions, cause like everything else in Texas, they are big.)
3 tsp butter
Bay leaves
20 oz of beef broth
20 oz of chicken broth
Cooking sherry
Apple cider vinegar.
French bread
Swiss cheese
Gruyere cheese.

Cut the onions in half, and then cut across so they are like crescent moons. (Or just cut how you like, I’m not a cutting Nazi. Just please don’t dice.) Put the butter in a pot and melt it, lay down a layer of onions, sprinkle with salt, put another layer, sprinkle with salt etc. till all the onions are in the pot. (It’s going to look like waaaaay too many, trust me, its not.) The recipe I went off of said not to stir, but I thought it would be good to coat the onions with butter, so I did. Just don’t stir a ton, because you want to let the onions reduce down, and if you are standing there stirring it takes forever.

At this point go make yourself a Gin and Tonic, cause you are going to wait a while for these suckers to reduce down and caramelize. I’d say a minimum of thirty minuets. Don’t worry about the onions burning; because that just adds to the flavor, but if you keep the heat high then make sure you can keep an eye on them. After a while they will start to turn brown and taste super sweet (if you are the kind of person who tastes constantly) start stirring, because you want all the onions to get a chance to brown and not stick to the bottom totally.

After you are happy with the color. (Mahogany is what the recipe said, but I didn't wait that long) pour enough cooking sherry in to cover the onions, put the heat on high and reduce the liquid to syrup. This will take like 15 minuets, but don’t leave, because if it burns your house will smell (but the flavor will rock) you want to control the amount of burn. Note: Every recipe is different, and I found ones with red wind and white also, so it seems you can use what you have on hand if you don't want to go out and buy sherry.

Once that reduces pour in the chicken and beef stock, bay leaves, thyme, and parsley. (Sorry I didn't measure this, just put however much you like) I accidentally bought cilantro, which it turned out I needed for other things anyway, but this just proves to me that parsley is not really all that necessary. If you don’t like it leave it out. Also if you want the soup to be thicker use less of the beef and chicken stock. The recipe I used called for half that amount of both and I didn't think it was enough. Throw a dash of apple cider vinegar in there too. The recipe I was going off of said 10 oz of the vinegar, and that frankly would have ruined it. No more then a tablespoon. Let the whole thing simmer for like 10 minuets.

Cut up a French baguette and put it in the oven and broil at 375 for a few minutes to make the croutons. The size of each piece should be about the size of the bowel you put the soup in. Pay attention here, these are easy to burn.

Okay, we are almost done. Put the soup in an oven safe bowel, and using a cookie sheet, stick it in the oven with one of the croutons on top and a slice of each cheese. If you put the Swiss on top it will brown better then the other cheeses. The cheese should overlap the opening of the bowel so the cheese can drip down the sides and crust over. This is what makes the Mancy’s French onion soup I think. If (like me) you don’t have a bowel that can go in the oven just use a coffee mug, it works wonderfully. I found that if you put the mug to the side of the broiler in a gas oven it browns the cheese the best. You could also use a torch if you have one.

If I had the time this is what I would probably serve this soup with:
Steak, Mushrooms, and Onion rings

Although it is a meal in its self.

Until Next time.

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