Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Onion soup gratinée

I wanted a quick dinner last night, and had a container of chicken stock in the freezer I wanted to use up.  French onion soup.

I've posted on this before, so no need to go into fine detail, but I do want to emphasize that this soup does NOT require a big investment in time, provided your pantry is well-stocked.

Variant here is that I used chicken stock.  I prefer a rich beef stock for onion soup, but didn't have any on hand, and chicken stock is fine. The stock I had was not particularly rich, having been made of scraps from roasted chicken breasts, so I needed to jazz up the soup a bit.

As the pot of onions was nearing its ideal caramelized state, I poured in about 1/4 cup sweet red vermouth.  Dry white vermouth would've worked, too, but the sweet red has an almost sherry-like flavor, which enhances the flavor of onion soup.  I then added the stock, and salted liberally, as the stock had not been previously salted.  FWIW, Aunt Millie used to say, "Kissing a man without a mustache is like eating soup without salt." 

I also added a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, and a good pinch of Ajinomoto (a.k.a., monosodium glutamate).  Keep your panties on, folks, but it's a useful shortcut to add savor to food (like a wan stock).  And FYI, MSG comes from fermented soybeans.  Not surprisingly, so does Worcestershire sauce. 

I toasted up some excellent Italian bread from Metropolitan Bakery, and arranged the crostini on top of the soup, then covered the top with about 8 oz shredded Gruyere cheese.  Into a 425°F oven for 10 minutes, then under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until the cheese was melted and browned. 

Served a green salad with walnut-oil dressing on the side.  Awesome weeknight treat. 


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