Souper Bowl Sunday ['11] ~ Week 8

This weekend was sort of crazy weather-wise. When I went out to get my coffee on Saturday morning, I was walking through a lot of slush and it was sleeting. Winter has come a little early this year, and I’ll have to say I’m not ready for it yet. I love Fall, and I feel like Fall gets shorter every year. And that’s a bummer. Because I feel like it’s either 110 degrees or 10 degrees! And my perfect temperature is 60-65 degrees. I guess I need to move, lol! Here in the city we didn’t really get any snow, but friends & family in the suburbs got upward of 6 inches.

French Onion Soup is one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s the perfect soup to warm you up on a cold day. I wanted to try a different type of Onions Soup, so I came up with a Four Onion Soup. I added a few new flavors in there, and I was pretty happy with how it came out.

  • 2 medium Red Onions, sliced
  • 2 medium Sweet Onions, sliced
  • 4 Shallots, sliced
  • 3 Leeks,  cut into chunks
  • 4 Garlic cloves, whole
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 stick of Butter
  • 3 tablespoons Corn Starch
  • 32 oz + 4 oz Beef Broth
  • 2 tablespoons Brandy
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon (or add at the end to taste) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Bread Cubes, toasted
  • Gruyere Cheese
  • Sharp Provolone

Chop up your Leeks, Red Onions, Sweet Onions and Shallots.


I love to caramelize my onions in the crock pot. I love to do it low and slow. I feel like they really get a chance to caramelize and the flavor is exceptional. I usually put the onions in the crock pot the night before I need them. I put a stick of butter in a crock pot and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Add the onions and the garlic cloves.

Let it go! I stir occasionally so that it doesn’t burn. Just make sure that your crock pot isn’t too big, otherwise it will burn. I let them cook down and caramelize until they are a nice mahogany color. From start to finish, they are probably in the crock pot for about twenty hours or so. You can cook yours as long as you’d like though. You can prepare them stove top if that is your preference.

Pour 32 oz of Beef Broth into a Dutch Oven. Bring to a boil. Mix the corn starch with the 4 oz of Beef Broth and add it into the other Broth. It will thicken. Once it’s thickened, add in the caramelized onions and all of their juices. Add in the brandy,  salt, pepper and thyme.

I let it cook (on low) for a little while to let all of the flavors marry. It’s your decision how long you let it go. I probably let mine go for about an hour, but that’s definitely not necessary.

When you’re ready to eat, ladle some of the soup into a crock.

Sprinkle some grated Gruyere Cheese over the soup.


Add in your toasted bread cubes.

Top with some good Sharp Provolone cheese. I love to use the slices.

Throw under the broiler for about 4 minutes or until bubbly!

I was very happy with how this came out. I really liked the flavors that the different onions brought to the soup. In the past I’ve always just used sweet onions, but I really love the four different onions together. This soup definitely warmed me up. And who doesn’t love all of that ooey gooey cheese?!

5 Ingredient Friday: The French Onion Division Series Dog

I’m a huge baseball fan, so it’s only natural that I love this time of year! MLB Playoff time! My team, the Philadelphia Phillies, set a franchise record with 102 wins in the regular season! How exciting! The Wild Card race came down to one game  and it was a very exciting night for baseball fans.

I wanted to do something fun during the playoffs, so here at One Curly Fry we’re going to spotlight Hot Dogs for 5 Ingredient Fridays during the playoffs!  Many people love a good ballpark hot dog. I wanted to jazz them up a bit for this though. So Mr. Curly Fry and I were brain storming some different flavors that we could put together and put them on a Hot Dog. The Division Series games start this weekend, so it’s only natural that first up is The French Onion Division Series Dog.

 

  • Hot Dogs
  • Hot Dog Rolls
  • Caramelized Onions
  • Pretzel Croutons (click here for the recipe)
  • Gruyere Cheese (Parmesan works also)

 

To start off – I like to boil hot dogs, and then finish them off in a saute pan. There’s just something I love about a hot dog that has been pan fried. If I had an outdoor grill I’d be using that, but since I live in the city and live in an apartment building that’s not an option for me.  So cook your hot dogs however you’d like!

Now it’s time to assemble the dog! Put the hot dog in the hot dog roll. Top the hot dog with caramelized onions. Use as much or as little as you want – totally your decision! Put some pretzel croutons on top of the caramelized onions. Top the croutons with cheese (I use a vegetable peeler to get thin slices of cheese to place on top, that way it melts nicely). Place the hot dog on a baking cheese and broil it for 2 minutes, until the cheese melts and is nice and bubbly.

French Onion Hot Dog

All of the flavors come together

 

Sweet Onion Casserole

I was paging through the latest issue of Cooking Light magazine (May 2011) and came across a recipe for Sweet Onion Casserole.  I’m always interested in trying out some new side dishes since I can easily get tired of the same ones over and over. I figured that I’d check out the reviews online to see what people had to say about it. I like to do that to see if the recipes needs to be worked with a bit or if they are perfect the way that they are. There weren’t many reviews at all for the recipe, but out of the few that commented, they said it has some potential. So I wanted to try to enhance the flavors.

The recipe calls to only saute the onions for 5 minutes or so. That doesn’t seem like enough time in my opinion. I decided to caramelize the onions before adding them in. I love the flavor of caramelized onions so I was so excited to see how it turned out. I also added in a bit of garlic that I used to make some garlic olive oil. There are many recipes I like to use garlic olive oil in and I think homemade tastes so much better than the store bought stuff. I also used the garlic olive oil in place of the canola oil in this recipe.

4 cups of onions

Onions before caramelizing

Caramelized Onions

Ready for the oven

Fresh out of the oven

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (I used 1 tablespoon of homemade garlic olive oil + 1 tablespoon of butter)
  • 4 cups chopped sweet onion (about 1 3/4 pounds) (I caramelized the onions a bit first)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long-grain rice (I used medium-grain rice and it worked fine)
  • 2/3 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/3 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Place onion in a large bowl.

3. Cook rice in a large pot of boiling water 5 minutes. Drain.

4. Stir rice and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) into onions. Spoon onion mixture into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 325° for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes. Top with parsley, if desired.

My thoughts…

This was good – but it was still missing something. It definitely needed more salt. When I added a little bit more salt to my serving and mixed it together, it was better. So I would bump up the salt amount if you make it. I was hesitant to put too much in there because there is salt in the cheese, etc. This still needs something else to make it really stand out. I’m thinking that some Panko bread crumbs mixed with a little butter and fresh thyme would provide a nice crunch and add a little bit more pizazz to the dish. Maybe a little bacon would help? Doesn’t bacon make everything better?

Another note…when I took the foil off after it baked for 40 minutes covered, I kept it in there for another 10 minutes at 325 degrees and then I put my broiler on low and broiled it for 3 minutes or so to get some more color.

So all in all this does have potential. I would make it again in hopes of figuring out what the missing ingredient is.