I was telling my friend Nico about my problem with cooking. I just don’t have the time or energy to plan very well. Nico, who is head chef at Wilde Locale here in Tartu, laughed. He said his problem is the opposite. He develops so many cooking ideas during the week that he could never come close to using them all.
Hmm … I thought. Perhaps we could make a deal. If Nico gave me one idea per week I would promise to plan for it and make it. And I could give him feedback — perhaps even improving the recipe. “No problem. And I will help you.” Nico said. This was exciting. The start of a routine. And I could get advice from the maestro as needed. Better still, I can share the adventure with you. That will make things more fun. It will also help me “stick to it” rather than give up on the concept. So we have a deal. Last night, Nico sent his first recipe to me by email. Here it is. Onward … and hopefully upward!
FRENCH ONION SOUP WITH GUINNESS AND MOZZARELLA BAGUETTES
The picture is from Nico’s blog. And if you want, you can find the same recipe with more photos there too.
From Nico: In France - ´´French onion soup´´ is a standard bistro fare and in Ireland they do a version with Guinness. Today I combine both recipes to do my own version of this classic soup were I will add an Italian twist. A classic soup perfect for winter, is packed with onion flavor and is delicious for those occasions when soul food is needed to raise the spirits. Make sure that you use good beef stock and allow the onions to caramelize to get the maximum flavor in your onion soup. For vegetarians, the beef stock can be replaced with vegetable-based stock.
The trick for this great onion soup is starting with good stock. Another important step is to caramelize the onion. Caramelizing onions take at least thirty minutes of slow cooking the onions over medium heat. The browning, or caramelizing, of the onions brings out the sweetness of the onions.
The recipe below make enough for 4-6 portions.
Chopping onions note
Chopping onions is a nice ‘crying’ experience! The way to avoid crying when chopping onions is tricky! Just use a very sharp knife, serrated knives are no good. When you chop an onion you break the walls of the cells, this allows the juices of the onions to go into the atmosphere. the sharper the knife, the less cells are broken.
6 large Spanish onions peeled and thinly sliced.
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ liter beef stock
1 of 500 ml can of Guinness
1-2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon of fresh chopped thyme
salt and pepper
12 slices from French baguettes
150 gr grated Gruyeres cheese
6 of 80 gr French baguettes with garlic butter
4 of 125gr Buffalo Mozzarella
pot of basil to garnish
In a large saucepan, sauté the onion in the olive oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 30 minutes.
Turn the onions every minute or so to ensure they are evenly cooked.
Add the minced garlic, sugar and thyme and continue cooking on a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the onion is well browned, stirring frequently.
Stir in the Guinness, Worcestershire sauce and stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Cook the onion until gets a light brown color so that is soft but not falling apart.
Put the French baguettes slices under the grill or into the oven, to toast them.
Rub each slice of toasted French bread with a garlic clove.
Top with grated cheese, and grill or oven backed for 3-4 minutes until cheese begins to melt and bubble. Put the cheese croutons on the top of the soup, garnish with fresh basil and served.
To make a meal on its own I served on the side with a mozzarella and garlic baguettes.
So - I will make this during the week and report back here on my efforts. And I promise to be patient with the onions. Looks like I will have to make my own beef stock too. Hey! No problem …. errr …. I think.
FOLLOW - First step, I need to think about making a quality beef stock. Here is a recipe from food52. Here is another one from BBC recipes. Here is a link to a video from videojub. Chef Jean Peirre has a video too. He saves his scraps and loves his leeks! Here is the link. Hmmm …
FOLLOW - I liked Chef Jean Pierre’s video (and his tip about leeks) - but I am not sure that I am into roasting the bones with tomato paste. Interesting.
FOLLOW - I will do the beef stock on Tuesday evening to get ready for my onion soup. Why not today? Well, to be honest, I got distracted by a sexy little recipe for potato fritters with broccoli red peppers and parma ham.