It’s been a while.
I spent all of yesterday cooking. I made a two-tier chocolate cake, a pot of French Onion soup, and four loaves of bread. From scratch.
Anyway, since I haven’t updated for so long, here are the recipes I used for the cake and soup. My mom’s bread recipe is really complicated, though, and I’m not sure enough about how to explain it to put it on here.
French Onion Soup:
This is kind of my own recipe. It’s not difficult like people think, and it’s one of those dishes where you do the most attention-requiring part at the beginning, and then you just kind of leave it alone and make other stuff to go along with it or something. Play computer games nearby. You know. Also, it doesn’t need 50 gallons of mango lard or anything, so The Oatmeal is not allowed to complain. Anyway, I make mean French Onion Soup, and I’ve been told it’s better than most restaurants’, so here goes.
Anyway, you’re gonna need this junk.
- Six yellow onions (trust me, they cook down)
- Beef base. I’m serious about this one. Don’t use bouillon, don’t use pre-made broth. Tone’s or McCormick’s are great brands, just make sure it’s base. Not bouillon. Bouillon is salty and usually full of nasty stuff. Beef base isn’t.
- Garlic of some sort–minced and dried, powder, fresh, whatever you can get
- Water, oil, salt, sugar. Basic kitchen stuff.
- A good skillet/frying pan–one big enough to reasonably hold your onions once they’re cut up
- A soup pot, medium size, if you have it
- A sharp knife, preferably a Santoku if you’ve got one, but your normal slicing knives will work just fine. Don’t try to use a steak knife, butter knife, or anything silly like that.
- A cutting board.
- A dish to hold your onions for a few minutes.
- A stove.
Got that? Mostly basic equipment. The only things you might actually have to shop for are the onions and the beef base. And maybe garlic. You are using beef base, right? Well, you are now. You’ll never switch back to bouillon after this, trust me. It’s like going from McDonald’s chicken nuggets to a lobster dinner.
Anyway, the first thing you have to do is cut your onions. WAIT. There’s a reason this is called French Onion Soup, no? You’re going to French your onions, if you can.
If you know how to French onions, skip this section.
First, prep your onion. Take your knife, lay your onion on its side and cut off the top and bottom of the onion to get rid of the stem. Set the onion on one of its cut-off ends and, from the top, slice the onion in half.
Get rid of the outmost ring of the onion. It’s tough, and you don’t want to eat it. You can just pop it out. It saves you the trouble of peeling off the skin, too. It’s going to look like you’re wasting a lot of onion, but this way, you don’t end up biting into something that has the texture of cardboard.
Now comes the trickier bit.
Lay your onion out so that the middle part that you just cut through faces the bottom. (That way, it’s stable to cut.) In other words, the big flat face of the onion is down. Position your onion so that the top of the onion, where the stem was, is facing away from you, and the bottom is near you. (It’s okay if it’s upside down, it doesn’t matter.)
Should look like this.
Next, you’re going to cut at an angle. Cut slightly towards the center of the onion, so that the cuts you make expose as much of the onion as possible to the oil later.
You should be left with plenty of nice, uniform, wedge-shaped pieces. You’ll get used to the cutting method after a few onions.
When all of your onions are prepared, heat up some oil–enough to swish around and cover the bottom of the pan–in your skillet/frying pan. When the oil is good and hot, dump your onions in. Tip: dump them away from you. The oil can splash, and you don’t want it to get on you. It helps if your onions aren’t in the pan when you heat up the oil–this is what that dish I mentioned is for.
You can add in a little more oil over the onions. It’ll get to the bottom and heat up. Now add some sugar over the top of your onions to help them caramelize and become a delicious golden-brown color.
Your onions will probably come to the top of the pan. Don’t worry about this. They cook down. You can slap the lid on the pan (or not if you don’t want to) and leave it for a while. You need to stir it every once in a while, flip your onions around. Otherwise, ignore it for a while and make your cake. Keep them on medium-high heat.
It’ll take a while for the onions to get nice and brown–expect a good hour or so, at least. Sometimes it takes longer. If you get impatient, turn the heat up higher and stir. A lot. Add more sugar. They should brown up faster, just make sure they don’t burn.
When your onions are all brown and sweet and caramel-y, switch off your fire.
If you have a soup pot, fill it with some water and add a couple good spoonfuls of beef base–just one or two. If you prefer a more precise method, check the ratio on the back of the beef base container and measure out your water. It’s not a picky thing, though–you just have to get it in the right area.
If you don’t have a soup pot, switch your onions back into your onion-holding bowl and do the same thing to prep your beef broth in the skillet. Don’t worry about washing out the pan first (duh).
Put your pot or pan on the stove again, turn on the stove, and heat up your broth. Swish the broth around with your spoon until your beef base is all dissolved in the hot water. Then you can go ahead and add your onions, give it a stir, add in some garlic and salt to taste (unless your bf is a vampire, in which case you should probably skip the garlic unless it’s a breakup dinner) and let your pot simmer on medium heat for a little while–maybe ten minutes or so.
And then you get to eat. That’s the best part, right? Make sure you eat it hot, because this stuff is really rich when it gets cold. Good stuff.
I have some new ideas–enough to get me through another novel, I think. Or two. And I’m kinda anxious to work on them… so I’m gonna go. I think I’ll make this soup recipe its own post, and add it on FB, because there are people who want my soup recipe and I’d like them to be able to find it.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 at 5:13 pm and is filed under Blog, Fun Stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.