Now that the holidays are behind us, along with cooking grand meals for the masses, we can take it down a notch and cook for ourselves again. The three recipes that follow are as cozy as your new holiday socks and flannel. What with the pile of onions that came tumbling out of my box yesterday, I can't think of a better way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon, than cooking them down to a sweet thick brown paste and turning it into French onion soup.
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French ONION Soup
David Lebovitz | My Paris Kitchen
photo Mediterranean Dish
Traditional recipes for French Onion Soup call for beef broth. David Lebovitz offers this version with chicken stock, which makes a lighter soup and is generally what I have in my cupboard. You can certainly use beef or substitute veggie broth. The longer you cook your onions, the sweeter they will be. While this recipe instructs us to carmelize onions for an hour and a half, I guarantee no one is going to arrest you if it only takes you a half an hour. In fact, they may never know.
6 slices hearty white bread, well toasted
4 tbsp unsalted butter
3 lb yellow onions, peeled, thinly sliced
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white wine
2 quarts low sodium chicken stock
1 to 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2-3 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and sugar and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent.
Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and continue to cook for 1½ hours, stirring less frequently and decreasing the heat to avoid burning as the onions continue to cook down. As the onions cook, if they brown on the bottom of the pan in places, use a spatula to scrape those appetizing brown bits into the onions because they’ll add flavor. The onions are done when they have collapsed into a thick amber-brown paste.
Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the wine and use a flat utensil to loosen any and all brown bits from the bottom and sides of the pan, stirring them into the onions. Add the stock, bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer slowly for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the vinegar, tasting it to get the balance right, adding a touch more vinegar, and salt and pepper, if desired.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set six ovenproof bowls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Divide the hot soup among the bowls. Rub both sides of the toasted bread slices with the garlic. Put the toasts on the soup, then sprinkle the tops with the grated cheese. Bake the soups on the upper rack of the oven until the cheese is deeply browned, about 20 minutes. Alternatively, if your bowls can withstand the heat, you can set the cheese-topped soups under a hot broiler, cooking them until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Serve immediately.
Pecorino Fried Bread with BROCCOLI
Katherine Youngblood | Lot 2 via NYT
photo Evan Sung
Simple, salty, and satisfying. Put a fried egg on top and call it dinner.
½ pound broccoli
4 garlic cloves
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 (1-inch thick) slices day-old pain au levain or rustic white bread
6 anchovies, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon chili flakes
Juice and finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Salt, to taste
½ cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Cut broccoli into 2-inch pieces. Blanch broccoli until bright green and just tender, about 1 minute. Transfer to ice water to cool. Let drain and squeeze out extra moisture. Roughly chop broccoli into bite-size pieces.
Mince 3 garlic cloves and halve the remaining one.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high until hot but not smoking. Fry 2 pieces of bread until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Set bread aside. Repeat with 2 more tablespoons olive oil and remaining bread.
Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Add minced garlic, the anchovies and chile flakes, and cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add broccoli and heat until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice and zest and a pinch of salt, or to taste.
Rub fried bread with garlic clove halves and sprinkle with some of the cheese. Place broccoli on top of bread and garnish with more cheese.
Bourbon APPLE Galette
Erin McDowell | Food 52
photo James Ransom
1/3 cup bourbon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large or 4 medium apples, peeled & cored
1 recipe All Butter Pie Dough (below)
Egg wash, as needed for finishing
Turbinado sugar, as needed for finishing
Preheat the oven to 425° F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small pot, bring the bourbon to a boil over medium heat. Reduce until there’s about 2 tablespoons of liquid remaining, then stir in the butter until it’s melted.
In a small bowl, whisk the brown sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon to combine. Stir this into the bourbon-butter mixture and let cool completely. Cut the apples into quarters. Carefully slice each apple quarter into thin slices, doing your best to keep the section together while you slice (this makes it easier to fan the apples later).
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to approximately 9" square. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, then use a pastry wheel to trim the edges to square the dough.
Fan the apples out and place them randomly across the dough, leaving about 1 1/2 inches of uncovered dough all around the edge. Fold the sides of the square in over the apples, then fold the top and bottom down. Pinch a little bit at the edges to ensure they are secure.
Carefully spoon the bourbon-sugar mixture over the apples evenly. Egg wash the edges of the dough and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake the galette until the crust is golden brown and the apples are very tender, 28 to 33 minutes.
All Butter Pie Dough
Erin McDowell | Food 52
photo James Ransom
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
8 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup ice water, or more as needed
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt to combine. Add the butter, tossing the cubes in the flour to coat. Rub the butter into the flour until it is the size of walnut halves (for a flaky crust) or peas (for a mealy crust). Make a well in the center, and add the water a few tablespoons at a time and mix just until the dough comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill well before rolling, forming, and baking.