French Onion Fail!

French onion soup minus the cheese

We went on a cruise!!  Our first cruise ever, for a WEEK!  (which was a time for me to be out of the kitchen).  Coming home I reached for the next cookbook in line, Michael Smith’s Best of Chef at Home Essential Recipes for Today’s Kitchen.  The recipe tagged was for French Onion Soup.

I was excited to get back into my kitchen.  Matt was traveling so he was unable to eat with me, which turned out to be for the better!

To start out with I had to caramelize onions.  I added butter and oil to a pot and heated over medium high heat.  Then I added thinly sliced white onions.

these are thinly sliced white onions
these are thinly sliced white onions

With the onions I added a splash of water, and salt and pepper and covered the pot and let the onions steam for 10 minutes.

steamy onions
steamy onions

Then I cooked with the lid removed for about an hour, stirring occasionally and continuing to lower the heat to prevent burning.

this is what an hour of cooking looks like
this is what an hour of cooking looks like

When the onions were golden brown I added brandy (St. Remi FRENCH brandy to be exact), turned up the heat and continued to stir while the liquid evaporated.  Then I added chicken broth (which I had never made french onion soup with chicken broth…it’s always been beef broth but I followed the recipe…), thyme, salt and pepper.  I brought it to a simmer and cooked for 15 minutes.

IMG_9028

As the soup simmered I toasted some bread.  When the 15 minutes were up I ladled the soup into a bowl, topped with toast and would have topped with cheese and broiled for a few minutes…but since I can’t have cheese I skipped that step.

French onion soup minus the cheese
French onion soup minus the cheese

The Verdict:  The soup had an overpowering alcohol taste to it, from the brandied onions.  I’m wondering if beef broth would have been used instead of chicken broth if the soup would have blended better.  I chose not finish my bowl and instead made a cup of soup for dinner.  But the night wasn’t a complete waste because since I had so much time caramelizing the onions it allowed me to finally unpack from our cruise.

And speaking of the cruise, we took part in a very special dinner called Chef’s Table.  Basically 7 courses prepared with by a chef and each paired with wine.  The dinner was a lot of fun and made me feel like I was on one of my favorite shows, Top Chef (which spoiler alert the next recipe is by head judge of Top Chef’s cookbook)!

Here are photos of our awesome meal.

Alaskan crab with ice wine "gelee" paired with Valdo Brut, Prosecco, Italy
Alaskan crab with ice wine “gelee” paired with Valdo Brut, Prosecco, Italy
Goats Cheese Terrine paired with Deinhard, Reisling, Germany 2014
Goats Cheese Terrine paired with Deinhard, Reisling, Germany 2014
Trio of Soups - Cream of Celeriac (mine was subbed out for a non-dairy), clear gaspacho and oxtail broth paired with Whispering Angel, France 2014
Trio of Soups – Cream of Celeriac (mine was subbed out for a non-dairy), clear gaspacho and oxtail broth paired with Whispering Angel, France 2014
Lobster Basil & Potato Salad served with camari jelly, watercress caviar and horseradish foam paired with Mer Soleil Chardonnay, California 2012
Lobster Basil & Potato Salad served with camari jelly, watercress caviar and horseradish foam paired with Mer Soleil Chardonnay, California 2012
Porcini Mushroom Pasta with sage butter paired with La Crema, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Porcini Mushroom Pasta with sage butter paired with La Crema, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Prime Beef Tenderloin with red wine reduction, white bean mash and carrot ginger puree paired with Pauillac, Cabernet Sauvignon, France 2011
Prime Beef Tenderloin with red wine reduction, white bean mash and carrot ginger puree paired with Pauillac, Cabernet Sauvignon, France 2011
Caramelized Banana Parfait paired with Ruffino Moscato D'Asti, Italy 2014
Caramelized Banana Parfait paired with Ruffino Moscato D’Asti, Italy 2014

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