Dec 15, 2010

Rustic Tomato Soup

Need a quick, easy and hearty dinner? This is it. Serve this soup with tuna sandwiches, and cheddar pinwheels. I guarantee you'll get Mom of the Year award. This recipe is from MAD HUNGRY. One of my favorite new cooking shows. Well, it's new to me anyway. You'll need extra hardware for this recipe, a blender or food processor. Here we go!

1 28-oz. can whole peeled plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced onion
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 baguette, sliced (about 16 slices)
Olive oil, for drizzling
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Fresh basil leaves

Pulse tomatoes and liquid in a food processor until chopped. The more process it, the more smooth your soup. Heat oil and red pepper flakes in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion. Cook, stirring, until onions are tender, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 30 minutes. Puree until smooth; season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, drizzle bread with oil. Toast in 375 degrees oven until it begins to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Top with mozzarella and return to oven. Cook until cheese begins to melt, about 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with soup. When ready to serve soup, chiffonade your basil leaves and sprinkle over your soup.

If planning to serve with sandwiches or other things, leave off the croutons. :)

Onions for tomato soup
Tomato Soup
Tomato Soup
Tomato Soup

Dec 8, 2010

French Onion Soup

French onion soup might be the classiest & most expensive sounding soup I know of. It's light and yet rich at the same time. If you don't like onions you will not like this soup. It is exactly what it sounds like... ONION SOUP. It is sweet, beefy, and oniony. This soup is comforting and I love it. It seems fancy and if you serve this as a first course at a dinner I guarantee that you'll get rave reviews. I'll give you the Alton Brown version of this recipe, and then I'll give you MY recipe. If you google search French Onion Soup you'll get a ton of recipes, and I feel like my version kind of takes the best of everything and simplifies it.

A very important step of this soup is to create croutons to go on top of the soup. I don't generally do that if I'm just making it for myself, but it does add a bit of... specialness to the dish. Simple way to do this is to get yourself some nice bread and use your dish as the cutter. Then you get a crouton that is the exact size of your dish. Ramekins are what this is traditionally served in. You can make your soup, put your baked crouton on top, and cover with a slice of Gruyere cheese. Set on a baking sheet and pop under the broiler for a few minutes, voila cheesy goodness.

Alton's Version (Which I HAVE made and is very good... but is a bit sweet for me.)
4 lbs of mixed onions, red and yellow, sliced
3 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
2 c White Wine
10 oz canned beef consume
10 oz chicken broth
10 oz apple cider
Bouquet Garni with whatever you fancy, thyme, rosemary, dill

In an electric skillet on medium heat melt butter. Add all onions to skillet, sprinkle with salt, and cover. Let onions completely caramelize, this can take 20 min to an hour depending on your skillet and onions. Once onions are caramelized add your white wine. Let reduce until syrupy in consistency. Add your bouquet garni beef consume, broth and apple cider. Let simmer for about 30 minutes. Add to your crocks or ramekins and crouton and cheese up. Enjoy.

MY version (This is enough to serve me, my DH and one other person... usually me the next day)
Three medium onions, two red one sweet, finely sliced
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp White Wine
32 oz Organic Beef Broth
2 Tbsp Apple juice or Apple Cider
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried pepper
1 clove garlic finely minced, or a sprinkle of dried garlic

Cut your onions in half, then finely slice into half moons. Melt butter in a saute pan over medium-low heat. Add your onions and salt, alternating a bit so all the onions get some. Leave on heat for about 25 minutes until caramelized. The onions won't burn as long as your heat isn't too high. They're going to turn a nice deep mahogany color, that's what you want. I stir them occasionally so that I know they're all getting the same amount of caramelization. When your onions are completely caramelized then add your white wine, stir to incorporate. Let the wine cook out for a few minutes, it will make your onions look kind of like they're coated in syrup. Add your beef broth, apple juice, thyme, pepper, and garlic. Let simmer on medium for 25-35 minutes until slightly reduced. Enjoy! Of course you can add the cheese and crouton to this recipe as well. I like this way because you get the nuttiness of the butter, the sweetness of the onions, the slight addition of the apple, the beefy broth and the herbs. It's just enough to keep your mouth happy without having a billion steps going on. Make sure that you choose a pan big enough! Otherwise it's not really a one pot wonder is it? Onto the pictures!

Skinned onions
All sliced and ready to go
In the pan
Halfway through
Ah... look at that color!
Adding the beef stock
Simmering away
Go make this right now!!! It's soooo easy!