French Onion Soup

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French Onion Soup
This is one of Scott’s favorite dishes and this recipe from Julia Child knocked our socks off! 

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 lbs. or about 5 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions
3 T butter
1 T vegetable oil
A heavy-bottomed, 4 quart covered saucepan
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
3 T flour
2 quarts boiling brown stock, canned beef bouillon, or 1 quart of boiling water and 1 quart of stock or bouillon.
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
Salt and pepper to taste
3 T cognac or sherry
Rounds of hard-toasted French bread (see recipe following)
1 to 2 cups grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese

CROUTES — HARD-TOASTED FRENCH BREAD:
12 to 16 slices of French bread, cut 3/4 to 1 inch thick
Olive oil or beef drippings
A cut clove of garlic

PROCEDURE FOR THE SOUP:

Cook the onions slowly with the butter and oil in a covered saucepan for 15 minutes.

Uncover, raise heat to moderate and stir in the salt and sugar.  Cook for 30 to 40 minutes stirring frequently, until the onions have turned an even, deep golden brown.  Sprinkle in the flour and stir for 3 minutes.

Off heat, blend in the boiling liquid.  Add the wine and season to taste.  Simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 minutes or more, skimming occasionally.  Correct seasoning.

Set aside uncovered until ready to serve.  Then reheat to the simmer.

Just before serving, stir in the cognac.  Pour into a soup tureen or soup cups over the rounds of bread and pass the cheese separately.

PROCEDURE TO MAKE THE CROUTES:

Place the bread in one layer in a roasting pan and bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for about half an hour, until it is thoroughly dried out and lightly browned.

Halfway through the baking, each side may be basted with a teaspoon of olive oil or beef drippings; and after baking, each piece may be rubbed with cut garlic.

NOTES:  After making this soup for over 30 years, we have learned a few things that affect this soup.  First, do not use “sweet” onions.  Second, be patient in making this soup.  Do not hurry the onions as they are browning.  You may end up with black onions, which means starting over,  perhaps a trip to buy more onions or–worse–canned soup if the stores are closed on a holiday.

Third, though I hesitate to admit it, I have never made beef stock.  I use canned broth, and the soup is still darned good.   Heat the broth just until it steams while the onions are browning.

Fourth, cognac is expensive; a good domestic brandy works just fine.   Today, I use dry or semi-dry Madeira wine instead of cognac or brandy because we prefer the flavor it adds to the soup.  This is the one major change I have made in Julia’s recipe.  You might want to try the recipe both ways to see which flavor you prefer.

And fifth, for the dry white wine, sauvignon blanc or Chardonnay are both good choices.  If you plan on serving wine with the soup, choose one that you enjoy drinking to use in the soup.

When making the croutes I arrange the bread on cookie sheets.  If you discover that you are out of garlic cloves, you can mix a dash or two of garlic powder into a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to baste the toasted bread rounds.  Don’t overdo the garlic; you want just a hint of garlic on the bread.

Instead of pouring soup over the toasted rounds of bread I usually float a croute on the soup in each soup bowl, sprinkle a little Swiss cheese on top and offer extra cheese at the table for guests to add more if they like.  We prefer a good aged Swiss cheese to Parmesan on this soup, but try both to see which one you like better.

Inspired by: http://kitchencourage.areavoices.com/2012/10/31/julia-childs-french-onion-soup/#sthash.m7P5JtUp.dpuf

Creamy Green Chile Chipotle Pork Enchiladas

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Creamy Green Chile Chipotle Pork Enchiladas

The really nice touch to this one is using evaporated goat milk. It gives the enchiladas a hint of goat cheese flavor. Not overpowering because it’s not goat cheese, but a nice extra flavor people might not be able to put their finger on.

Ingredients:

1-2 lbs pork carnitas (see previous recipe)
1 large can green enchilada sauce (medium heat)
1 can cream of onion soup
1/2 can evaporated goat milk
1 can green chiles
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (we chopped up 4 peppers)
2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese
Corn tortillas
1 onion
2 Tbs butter
Cajun Kicker ground tabasco pepper

Directions:

Start by chopping up the onion and sauteing it in butter. When onions are golden, add the chopped green chiles and chopped chipotle peppers. Then add the pork, enchilada sauce, soup, and goat milk. Do not boil this mixture, keep the heat to medium low and let it simmer for a bit. Dip each corn tortilla into the sauce on both sides before placing into a casserole dish. Fill it with a scoopful of meat using a slotted spoon to leave the sauce behind in the pan, then add a layer of cheese, then roll up the tortilla. Continue this process until the casserole pan is full of rolled up enchiladas stuffed with filling and cheese. Top enchiladas with remaining sauce and what cheese is left. Sprinkle with Cajun Kicker ground tabasco pepper (or cayenne).

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Crock-Pot Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs with Low Carb Pasta and Whole Wheat Garlic Bread

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Crock-Pot Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs with Low Carb Pasta

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (we used Classico something or other)
Dreamfields low carb spaghetti
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 an onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic
1 egg
2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup garlic and herb bread crumbs
Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

Directions:

Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil. Deglaze them with the wine and pour that into a slow cooker along with the spaghetti sauce, beef stock, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Set on low for 8 to 10 hours. Put the ground beef in a bowl along with the egg, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning blend. Mix that together and form them into balls. Place them under a broiler for 10 minutes, then add them to the Crock Pot. Let that slowly simmer for however many hours you can stand it before needing it in your face. Place over boiled spaghetti noodles that have been drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with garlic salt.

Commentary: We actually did this with the leftover sauce from the grits and grillades we made for breakfast.

Inspired by: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/sunday-gravy-and-macaroni-spaghetti-really-recipe/index.html

Whole Wheat Garlic Bread

Ingredients:

1 fresh loaf of whole wheat french bread
Butter or margarine
Mayo
Parmesan cheese
Garlic salt

Directions:

Slice your loaf into about 1-inch thick slices, but not all the way through, just mostly all the way to the bottom of the bread. Spread butter on all the sides facing one way, and mayo on all the sides facing the other way. Then sprinkle Parmesan cheese and garlic salt in each gap. Wrap loaf in foil and place in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Commentary: This way of making garlic bread is a long cherished family recipe. If you think the mayo part is crazy. Just try it once and you’ll probably never not include mayo ever again.