Sunday, March 25, 2007

Curly Noodles, Hungry Dog, and Chicken Based French Onion Soup

Okay... this is weird. I'm about to share one of my first recipes that involves meat. And the ironic part about it all is that I think it could be made equally well vegetarian. This whole experimenting with meat thing has been a bit strange, especially because I think I am satisfying my craving with very small amounts of chicken, and in that respect I have confirmed my "mostly veg" nature quite well.

I have a thing for caramelized onions, but frankly I use them far too often in far too many dishes where they don't belong, when all the time, all I want is a good French Onion Soup. I can't believe it took me this long to try making one; now that I've made it, I'll make it again and again. If it weren't for the fact that I have to fit into a bikini for my honeymoon, in, uh, 6 weeks, I'd've probably poured this soup into ramekins and baked it traditionally with cheese and bread and a lot more salt.

But, the aforementioned bikini requirement won't go away, so while this is not quite a healthy recipe, it's also not as overboard as one could choose to make it. Feel free to adapt.

It's buttery, sweet, full of deep flavor, and, as Greg put it, downright beefy despite the lack of beef (ref slow caramelized onions). These onions are true melt-in-your-mouth-goodness. I think the next iteration of this recipe will include some dried porcini mushrooms, but I wanted to keep things simple and made this with as few ingredients as I could manage. There is only a very small amount of chicken in here, and as I mentioned before, you could just as easily leave it out.

I made this soup on Saturday, and it was a little too rich and buttery. I refrigerated it overnight and skimmed off quite a bit of excess fat on Sunday - then it was perfect.

I can't tell you how tempted I was to title this post "Freedom Onion Soup" ; )

French Onion Soup
Serves 2-4

Splash of olive oil
2 chicken thighs, on the bone, washed under cool water and patted dry
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
2 sweet onions, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups good vegetable stock (I swear by "Kitchen Basics")
1 large escarole, chopped into ~1/2-1" squares
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat a heavy soup pot with a splash of olive oil and add chicken thighs skin side down over medium heat. Cook approximately four minutes per side and reserve for later use. Drain excess fat if desired.
  2. Add butter and onions to pot, stirring occasionally over medium-low heat for up to 45 minutes. Aim to develop a deep caramel color, but watch pot carefully to avoid burning the onions*
  3. Sprinkle flour over onions, add garlic and stir to fully incorporate. Cook for an additional 3 minutes to form a roux, then deglaze with vegetable stock. Remove excess fat and skin from chicken thighs. Shred and add to pot along with escarole.
  4. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until escarole is cooked through and soft, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Optionally: refrigerate overnight and skim excess fat the next day. Serve over pasta that has been boiled in heavily salted water.
*This is where the heavy bottomed pot is most useful. Your patience will be rewarded by soft, sweet, caramelized onions, I promise!


Anonymous said...

Interesting recipe, and your dog is just beautiful... and showed great restrain by not eating the soup!

Anonymous said...

great pictures - the soup sounds delicious!

Linda said...

cool noodles! love the photographs. your pup is absolutely darling. can't wait to try this recipe!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

These are gorgeous photos--truly inspirational!