Soup To Whoopie

Soup to Pie

Don’t wait until 2015 to shake up your standard kitchen repertoire. From French onion soup to cioppino to whoopie pies, we’ve got you covered. You could serve the following trio of dishes in one three-course meal or try one recipe now and the others later in the month. Then by New Year’s, you’ll have one less resolution to make.

Bijou French Bistro

Chef Shaun Gethin grew up in the Midwest but cooks a cuisine as fragrant and flavorful as that of France’s Loire Valley. His onion soup is a case in point. What makes the version he serves at Bijou French Bistro in La Jolla are intense beef stock, sweet Maui onions caramelized with honey and an aromatic splash of sherry vinegar. You can use high-quality, low-sodium beef stock instead of making your own, but the following recipe takes little effort and yields enough to freeze leftovers for other uses.

French Onion Soup
Serves 4

5 lbs. beef bones
2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced
1 leek, halved lengthwise and rinsed
1/2 c. parsley stems
1 bay leaf
3 Maui onions, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 T. salt
1 T. canola oil
1 T. hone
1/4 c. sherry vinegar
4 one-inch slices of day-old sourdough bread
4 slices of Gruyère cheese              
2 thyme sprig leaves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place beef bones in a roasting pan and bake one hour, stirring occasionally until bones are deeply browned. Transfer bones to an 8-quart pot, add the yellow onions, leek, parsley stems and bay leaf; cover with water to four inches above the bones. Simmer 12 hours, adding water to retain the level; then cool, strain and reserve in refrigerator up to three days.

Season Maui onion slices with 1 T. salt. Heat oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until caramelized, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add honey, stir and caramelize one additional minute. Reduce heat to low, add sherry vinegar and continue cooking onions until soft and tender.

Preheat broiler and heat beef stock on the stove. Pile onions into ovenproof crocks or bowls and fill each with stock, one slice of bread and a slice of Gruyère. Broil until the cheese takes on a golden hue. Remove from oven, sprinkle with thyme leaves and serve.

Suggested beverage: Roussanne or Cru Beaujolais

Categories: Food & Drink