Friday, January 29, 2010
Brandy Onion Soup
In my early 20's, I was in awe of Martha Stewart. I was baking desserts for 3 restaurants, all had a different feel - I needed inspiration.
I had a subscription to her magazine and would go over the pages slowly, as to properly absorb every single detail. What it should look like. What it should taste.
One thing I discovered early enough is that magazines do not test their recipes that much.
I remember trying some in her pies and tarts book and, oh, la déception.
So, read through magazines for ideas. That's it.
I was never really fond of onion soup until I tried putting brandy instead of beer or wine.
It adds depth and a certain je-ne-sais-quoi. This I owe to Martha. (and her team, her huge team that makes her look sooooo perfect. I need one of those...)
My measures are very approximate as I do a ton of soup and freeze it in handy portions.
I like to use chicken and beef stock, it is a nice balance.
4 large Spanish onions, quartered, then sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brandy
pepper, freshly ground
2 branches thyme
2 bay leaves
6 cups beef stock
2 cups chicken stock
water to top up
On low heat, cook the onions + garlic in butter. This should take about 1 hour. Give it a stir from time to time, they should become golden brown and soft. Add the brandy, cook down on low heat for about 30 minutes. The onions should become dark brown. Add a few cracks of pepper, the thyme and bay leaves. Pour in the stocks, let simmer for about 1 hour. Taste. If too salty, add water.
I used to add my crouton on the soup, then add cheese and put it under the grill. Lately, I have found that broiling the croutons and cheese separately from the soup works best... The cheese is nice and crisp on the sides, no goopy mess at the bottom of your bowl. You enjoy the broth more, onion soup is not only about the cheese and bread!! (Or maybe it is when the broth is just so-so...)