Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Easy French Onion Soup and Onion Marmalade

slave enjoys making and using caramelized onions. If you have ever had a truly good French Onion Soup, you know how wonderful this treat can be. Coaxing out the natural sugars found in onions can be a very difficult process for the novice cook. Slave will show you how easy this can be done. The results will amaze, and slave will show you how to make this treat into an unexpected marmalade to give as a handmade gift. Yes, it is getting to be that time again, We still have one more week until the home made vanilla extract will be ready for gifting or using in making baked gifts.

Back in the day when the big department stores all had dinning rooms, here in Saint Louis, our Famous-Barr would feature French Onion Soup. It was served in little oven proof crocks. Each would have a piece of cheese covered bread floating on top. What memories! However, you quickly learned that at a certain temperature, that cheese would form long hot strings that could cling to you chin! To help prevent this, slave uses a mix of Fontina and Havarti cheese, instead of a Swiss.

2 3lbs bags of small to medium sized yellow onions
3 medium sized red onions optional
½ stick of butter
1 teaspoon salt
10 ounces canned beef consume
20oz Beef Stock
6 tablespoons olive oil
1tbs sweet paprika
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ cup brown sugar
2 tbs balsamic wine vinegar
slices thick country bread
olive oil for drizzling
6oz each of Fontina and Harvarti cheese, grated
Caramelizing the Onions:
  1. Trim the ends off each onion then halve lengthwise. Remove peel and using a mandolin, finely slice into half moon shapes.

  3. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over the bottom of the slow-cooker's crock. Add about half of the onions, sprinkle about half of the salt and repeat with the remaining onions, salt, and olive oil. Sprinkle the paprika & thyme over everything and then use tongs to toss the contents so the onions are evenly coated with oil. 

  4. Place the lid on the crock, turn the heat to HIGH, and let it cook for 9-10 hours,
  5. After 10 hours, the onions will be golden-brown and soft, and they will have released a lot of liquid. Using a ladle, skim as much of this liquid out as possible and reserve for the soup. Turn the heat down to LOW and continue cooking for another 3 to 5 hours. Check every hour or so and stop cooking whenever the onions look and taste good to you.

    Remove about ½ of the onions with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a large bowl. Add the beef stock and consume to the crock pot and raise the heat back to high. Re cover.

Now the onions that you have removed will become a fantastic Onion Marmalade! Have a few clean screw-top jars handy.



Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Add brown sugar to pan; cook 1 minute or until sugar dissolves. Add the caramelized onions. Stir well to coat.
Since you will be grating cheese: take a moment to pull off any coating, wrap them up and stick both in the freezer for about ½ hour. This will firm them up and make grating much easier.

Cover the skillet and let simmer on low for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. 

Uncover and add vinegar to onion mixture. Cook, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring frequently or until mixture is very thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper.
Spoon into the resealable jars and let cool with the lids closed. This will help form a nice seal. 

Warp a piece of ribbon around the neck of the jar. The ribbon can hold a small gift card describing the marmalade and the date sealed. What a great gift! It is wonderful on all kinds of toasts, or used in cooking for extra flavor, even as toppings on sandwiches or baked potatoes! Keep refrigerated.
By now the soup in the crock pot will be steaming hot, but not boiling.
Turn on the oven broiler.

Spray a grater with cooking spray, grate the cheeses and mix them well.

Cut country bread in rounds large enough to fit mouth of oven safe soup crocks. (You can just push the crocks upside down onto the bread and trim around) 

Lay the slices on a foil lined baking sheet and place under broiler for 1 minute. (do not turn them over)
Season soup mixture with salt, pepper and maybe a dash of cognac. Ladle soup into crocks leaving one inch to the lip. Place bread round, toasted side down, on top of soup and spoon equal amounts of the grated cheese on top. Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden, 1 to 2 minutes.

If You don't have the right kind of soup crocks, you can make this for regular bowls!

After you have toasted one side of the bread, turn the slices over. Spoon the cheese on and slide them back under the broiler. As soon as the cheese is melted and starting to brown around the edges, remove from the oven. Ladle the soup to within an inch of the top of the bowl. Using a spatula, slide each slice onto the soup then serve.

You can cook and cool the soup to serve the next day. Then all you have to do is toast the bread, then broil the cheese on top.
Serve immediately.

Sometime just plan to make a batch of caramelized onions to freeze! Use an ice cube tray then thaw for last-minute burger and sandwich toppings. (Try some in a grilled cheese sandwich) Cup-sized portions can be used for pizza and pasta toppings, and larger containers are perfect for adding to soup.
Even if you don't have immediate plans for your caramelized onions, having a few bags stashed away in the freezer is never a bad thing! Now you know that the hardest part of caramelizing onions is peeling and slicing. Let the crock pot do all of the work for you.

Let this be a perfect winter evening meal for Your Master and You!
Proud to be serving my Master Indy


To satisfy and restore.
To nourish, support and maintain.
To gratify, spoil, comfort and please,
to nurture, assist, and sustain
..I cook!

Please buy slave's cookbook:

The Little Black Book of Indiscreet Recipes by Dan White via @amazon

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