Thursday, April 22, 2010

Five Onion Soup

I've started browsing the cookbook section of my local library. Surprisingly, they have some really good ones, including this Panera Bread Cookbook. As you could guess, everything in it sounds delicious, but alas I could not make them all. Instead, I settled on one soup that could be eaten for days.

Enter, the fanciest french onion soup you've ever seen without all the extra work of, you know, making it fancy. Not only do you use red and yellow onions, you get to throw in shallots, leeks, and scallions. Needless to say, I was interested after my first look. Most of the work is dealing with so many onions, but after the chopping torture, it's mostly dump and cook, which is my favorite cooking method.

The mix of onions gaves it a strong, lovely flavor without some of that added edge that I usually get with other french onion soup recipes. Maybe it's just me. Also, I'm pissed at my local Publix. Most of my shallots had already started to mold. I could salvage enough to make my recipe work, but still. Despite that, it turned out really good. This is also a great reminder that you can make this with any mix of onions you have on hand. Good thing to think about next time you're wondering what to do with a bumper crop.

5 Onion Soup
Panera Bread Cookbook

Serves 6-8
3 large yellow onions, halved and sliced pole to pole
3 red onions, halved and sliced
6 shallots, halved and sliced
3 leeks (white parts only), halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise
3 c scallions (greens reserved for croutons if you wish)
1 large garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
1 750-ml bottle red wine
1 small bunch thyme (12 sprigs), cut into 4-inch lengths
6 quarts beef stock

In a large stockpot, saute the onions, shallots, leeks, scallion whites, garlic, and a heavy pinch of salt in 2 T oil until the onions begin to carmalize. Deglaze with red wine. Add the thyme and stock to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for at least 1 hour. Adujst seasoning with salt and pepper. Eat with cheese toast.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tavuk Gögsü: 1st Edition

For Turko, the Valentine's day present was supposed to be his favorite Turkish dessert. He raved about the smooth creaminess of tavuk gogsu, a vanilla pudding with bits of sliver-fine shredded chicken. So, sneaky girl that I am, I found out how to spell it, then typed it up while he wasn't looking and saved it. A few weeks later, the holiday was the perfect time to pull this trick out of my sleeve. But where to start?

This website was one of the first I found on the subject. Apparently, this dish was high society back in medieval Europe. The Turks probably adopted it from them around that time and made a few changes along the way. However, at the bottom of the page, after she painstakingly went through the whole recipe, she actually warned you away from making it, saying it was too foreign for modern tastes. Well, that's a bit fershwunkedy in my book.

So I moved on to two other sites and a youtube video. All of them are modern Turkish recipes, so I figured why not? I picked up some rice flour from the local asian grocery, mixed a few of the recipes together and tried to go with it.

So here was the setup:

And my tenuous butter with cooked flour debacle that started the ultimate clumpiness.

And some shredded chicken for the bottom.

Now, while it tasted good, it was very runny. And clumpy. Plus I added way too much chicken. It looked pretty before I stuck it in the fridge though. Did it set? No. Not at all. Even a bit. Nope. I was highly dissapointed considering it was going so well flavor-wise before the whole not turning into pudding part. This post is really the longest (and most illustrated) way possible to say this: If you don't know what you're doing, maybe you shouldn't mess with the recipes. You know, just for now.

Verdict: It tastes good for sweet chicken soup. But it's soup. Not pudding.