Wednesday, November 18, 2009

UnRecipe: Onion Soup is Good Food

We have skeletons in our closet, or more to the point, bones in a box freezer. Whittling down our meat locker of animal protein delights, I'm left with several packages of soup bones. Now that the chill of winter is nearly upon us and it makes good sense to have a pot simmering all day on the stove, I made a big batch of beef broth. The end result was a meal of Onion Soup with Parmesan Crisps, which is never a bad idea for a cold, rainy day. Plus it's a nice prefunc for the gastric bypass we're all going to have to undergo after Thanksgiving next week.

Soup's On! - Photo by Wasabi Prime

I'm no expert at making broths, and I know beef can be a little trickier than chicken, as there's more flavor from a whole carcass than a segment of bone, even with some marrow in it, so there are extra steps people take to get as much flavor as possible. I just roast the beef bone for a bit before letting it take the plunge into a pot of water for a few hours to simmer away. In terms of spices, I add things like whole cloves, a star anise if I have it, bay leaves, and peppercorns, but don't go overboard, as I don't always know how the broth will be used. I'll usually let it reduce down a quarter before calling it done; the result isn't overwhelmingly rich, but for basic soups, it's a nice thing to have on hand. The first time I took a stab at broth-making was almost a year ago, on an older version of Wasabi Prime that was on Vox. Check out this blast from the past when I made beef broth.

Onion soup seemed like a delicious reward for a day's work of simmering. Notice I'm not saying French onion soup. The final result is too different for purists, so the Fran├žais factor gets dropped out of respect. The UnRecipe-ness of this was that I started out with a classic French onion soup recipe, but puttered around with it. A recipe that's similar to what was produced is on Epicurious -- their onion soup with loads of thyme.

While thyme was on my side (har har), bread and a soft, melty cheese was not. Let's be honest, we order French onion soup because we want the floating toast with the blob of crispy, molten Gruyere sitting atop the little soup tureens. Not that the finished onion soup wasn't delicious, but it was going to be melted cheese or bloody murder at this point.

Not wanting to go to the grocery store for the missing ingredient walk of shame, I rummaged the refrigerator and found some grated Parmesan cheese. Turning the oven on to 350 degrees, I pulled out a cookie sheet and silicone mat, and made little flat rounds of cheese sprinkled with fresh cracked pepper. The oven did the work, melting the cheese into crispy golden wafers. While I won't say this is as satisfying as a piece of toast with melty cheese, it worked as a quick fix to garnish the soup and add a little extra flavor as it melted in.

I couldn't eat another bite! Not even this waaaaaafer thin round of cheese? - Photos by Wasabi Prime

Bookmark and Share

16 comments:

  1. Oh man- this looks tasty! I love onion soup and I love the parmesan crisp on yours! What an elegant alternative to the usual topping. I can almost smell that soup from over here...mmmmmmm.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A tasty alternative to the traditional melted cheese topping for onion soup. Love the parm crisps.

    ReplyDelete
  3. such a perfect twist to typical onion soup!
    love your light parmesan crisp too!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have the same reaction with tokyoterrace. Even in the middle of the heat, I would still probably eat this. Maybe at night when it's cooler.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sounds great on a cold day. I love parmesan crisps, and how resourceful of you! I agree, onion soup must have something melty and cheesy.

    Enjoyed your comments on beef stock--I have never made it, as we don't eat a lot of beef here, but I think star anise would be a great flavoring to it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Plus the parm crisp is sooo much prettier!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am so wanting to munch on those parmesan crisps!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Love the soup, it might not be the exact French onion soup but you have your own version of it and I like that. You don't always have to follow a recipe exactly. I love creativity and not always following traditional recipes by the book. Every once can do that!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Beautiful recipe - even to a veg like me! Love that you made a lighter version of the French onion soup... and your's might even be called "Italian onion soup?!"... :) Adore the touch of Thyme as well!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I believe onion soup is a comfort meal :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I would love to have that crunchy cheese crisp. Never had thought of using it in this way. Should try it out someday. This is an absolute comforting meal. Btw, I'm enjoying my cheesy rice coserole infront of the computer right now. mmm... Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great story! The soup looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love those Parmesan crisps. Always make extra, whether they find their way into salads, or as a garnish somewhere...they are fantastic all on their own, and are just right atop your version of onion soup---this is so nice and light.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yum . .that parmesan crisp looks so good! Maybe even better than the traditional gruyere topped soup

    ReplyDelete

Commentary encouraged. Fresh baked cookies, super-encouraged. (hit the 'post comment' button twice, sometimes it's buggy)