French onion soup with beer

I had a bag full of onion and nothing to do this afternoon. I’ve also been having a craving for a good french onion soup. It was a perfect situation. Except for the cheese. I only had pre-grated Italian mix cheese. It worked but, really, you want emmental or gruyère for this.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 lb onions (about 7)
4 table spoon butter
1 table spoon white balsamic vinegar
3 french shallots
2 garlic cloves
1 bottle of dark beer
1 liter of beef broth
1/2 tea spoon dried thyme
1-2 bay leaf
baguette, cut into croutons
cheese, to taste
salt and pepper

ingredients

***

1. Peel and half all your onions.
onion1

2. Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Thinly slice the onions and throw into the pot. Stir to coat with the butter and add a generous pinch of salt.
onion2

3. Cook on medium low-heat for as long as they need to start getting some golden color. If it starts looking dry, add a bit of water and scrape the sugars from the bottom of the pot to recoat the onions.
onion3

4. When they are near the color your want (this was after a bit more than 1 hour) add the white balsamic vinegar.
onion4

5. Keep an eye on them, the extra sugar will finish caramelizing the onions very fast.
onion5

6. Add the diced shallots and the minced garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant.
aromates

7. Pour in the beer and make sure to scrape up all the sugary fond at the bottom of the pot.
beer

8. Add the beef broth. Simmer for 25 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
broth

9. When the soup is nearly ready slice the bread into croutons.
bread1

10. Put in the oven under the broiler to toast.
bread22

11. Ladle the soup into heat resistant bowl. Add toasted croutons and cover with cheese, to taste.
cheese1

12. Put in oven under broiler until cheese is melted and started to turn golden. Serve immediately.
cheese2

Advertisements

Arroz con Pollo

Well, not a traditional version., but close enough. A nice warm and filling casserole of spicy chicken and savory rice. Reheats beautifully for lunches and has enough depth of flavor that you don’t get bored eating it after a few days.

Ingredients:
1 table spoon apple cider vinegar
2 tea spoon red pepper flakes
2 large cloves of garlic
1 tea spoon salt
1/2 tea spoon pepper
6 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on if you want)
1 onion
2 bell peppers
4 cups chicken stock (1 liter)
generous pinch of saffron threads
1 pint diced tomatoes
1 dried yunnan pepper
1/2 tea spoon cumin
2 bay leaves
2 cups rice
ingredients

***

1. Combine the apple cider vinegar, pepper flakes, minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper.
marinade

2. Put the chicken in a large ziploc bag.
chicken1

3. Pour the marinade over the chicken and massage to coat the meat. Put in the fridge for 1 hour minimum, up to overnight.
chicken2

4. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, chop the onion and bell peppers.
veggies

5. Pour the chicken stock in a large pot and bring to just under a boil.
broth

6. Warm the oil in a large enamel cast iron pot (Dutch oven or French faitout). Retrieve the marinated chicken and add to pot in a single layer over medium to medium-high heat. Allow to cook for a few minutes, just to get some color.
Don’t breathe in the fumes… vinegar and red pepper flames are hard on sinuses.
meat1

7. Flip and color the other side then set aside.
meat2

8. Your broth should be warm by now. Add the saffron, then turn the heat to low and allow to steep.
broth2

9. Drain excess fat from the pot (especially if you cooked your chicken with the skin on).
Add the vegetables to the pot. use the moisture from the onions to scrape up any tasty stuck bits. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until softened and the onions start turning translucent.
veggies2

10. Add the tomatoes.
tomato

11. Once the tomatoes are bubbling, add the ground cumin.
cumin

12. Add the rice.
rice

13. Stir the rice until it has absorbed the pan juices, about 3-5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot.
rice2

14. Add the saffron broth, bay leaves and crumble in the yunnan pepper.
liquid

15. Bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to a low simmer and cover.
liquid2

16. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes. Then turn the heat off and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
cooked

17. Portion out and enjoy!
portion

Whole yellow pea soup

A variant on pea soup made with whole peas as well as split peas and more vegetables. It keeps more texture from the whole peas and the diced vegetables while the split peas fall apart and give body to the soup.

The soup bone can be from a ham, if so try to keep some flesh on it. I got mine from my butcher (I had no intention of making a ham) so it’s very bare.

This is a slight modification of the recipe found here.

Ingredients:
1 soup bone
4 liters water (16 cups)
600g whole dried yellow peas
300g split dried yellow peas
2 onions
2 carrots
3 celery branches
2 parsnips
1 leek
1 small turnip (or 4 baby turnip)
1/4 of a nutmeg, grated
1 table spoon summer savory leaves
6 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoon salted herbs
black pepper to taste
ingredients

***

1. Put the whole peas in a large bowl that can be sealed.
dry

2. Fill with water and put in the fridge overnight to soak.
dry+water

3. In a large stock pot, combine the water and the soup bone.
bone

4. Bring to a boil. Skim the foamy scum that may form on the surface.
skim

5. Take the soaked peas out of the fridge.soaked

6. Drain and rinse them well.
strain

7. Add to the stock pot.
peas

8. Add the split peas (they don’t need to soak). Simmer for 2 hours, stirring once in a while.
peas2

9. Meanwhile, dice the vegetables.
veggies

10. At the two hour mark the whole peas should be very soft and the split peas should be falling apart. You’ll want to be stirring this a bit more frequently at this point so that the broken down peas don’t form a crust at the bottom of the pot (they can scorch). Skim any film like scum from the top of the liquid.
skim2

11. Add the vegetables.
add-veggies

12. Add the nutmeg, salted herbs, summer savory leaves and bay leaves.
add-herbs

13. Stir in the chopped parsley and add black pepper to taste. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring frequently and skimming the film like scum for the top of the pot. Add boiling water if it gets too thick.
parsley

14. Serve warm.
serve

 

Chicken Yassa

A simple and cheap recipe, of Senegalese origins. Very tasty, but very lemony. For best results you’ll want to grill the meat, but my grill is (still) under 3 feet of snow…

Ingredients
3 chicken tights with back attached (or a generous package of boneless, skinless chicken tights)
3-4 lemons (have a few spares if your lemons aren’t giving much juice)
3-4 onions
4 garlic cloves
Black pepper and salt
Olive oil
2 bay leaves.
ingredients

***

1. Juice the lemon. You want to end up with roughly 2/3 cup of lemon juice, or a bit over.
juice

2. Slice the onions. You don’t want them too thin.
onions

3. In a vessel large enough to contain the chicken (I used a pyrex baking dish), spread half the onions and half of the lemon juice.
DSCF3207

4. Nestle the chicken on top of the onions. I removed the skin but you can leave it on if you will grill the chicken.
add-chicken

5. Add the remaining onions and lemon juice. Press the garlic (or mince finely) and add to the dish. Throw in the bay leaves and cover generously with pepper and a good pinch of salt.
pile-on

6. Drizzle generously with olive oil and mix, ensuring the chicken is well coated.
Cover with cling wrap and allow to marinate in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
mix

7. Once marinated, sear the chicken then transfer to a 400F oven.
sear

8. Pour all the marinade and onions into the skillet used to brown the meat (or a skillet, if grilling). Make sure to loosen up any and all stuck tasty bit at the bottom (you want to deglaze with the marinade).
pour

9. Bring to a boil for a couple of minute then drop to medium heat and cook the onions down until soft, sweet and almost melting.
cook-down

10. Spoon the onion and lemon sauce over the chicken when ready to eat.
Serve with white rice and the vegetable of your choice.
plate2

Duck Confit

Rich, slightly decadent and surprisingly easy to make Duck Confit. The garam masala and ginger add wonderful aroma to the duck.

It needs slow cooking, at low temperatures, otherwise it because tough and dry, so plan ahead to have plenty of time.

Ingredients
2 duck legs
1 table spoon sea salt
1 garlic clove, roughly peeled and the cloves separated
1 average knob of ginger, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 table spoon of whole Garam Masala
1 star anise, broken in pieces
1 table spoon whole pepper corns
3-5 table spoon of duck fat (optional)
1 cup of basami rice
Green and yellow beans, to taste
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 250F

2. Place the duck legs skin down in a large pan, over medium heat. Add the salt. Cook until the legs are brown and begin to render fat. Reduce the heat and continue cooking for 15 minutes,

sear1

3. Turn the legs over. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
sear2

4. Prepare the ginger and garlic and mix together all the spices.
aromates

5. Add the ginger, garlic and spices to the duck legs. Once you start smelling the spices, transfer to a large dutch oven (or other lidded oven safe container). Add duck fat as needed to make sure the legs are swimming in fat.
add-spices

6. Bake for 1 hour to 1h30, until fragrant and the meat is detaching easily from the bone.

While the duck is baking, rinse the basmati rice until the water runs off clear. Boil 2 cups of water, add the rice and turn the heat off. Cover and allow the rice to absorb the water for 30 minutes.

Also rinse and steam the green and yellow beans.
bake

7. Allow the duck to rest a few minutes when taking it out of the oven. Serve with the rice and beans.
serve

Spaghetti sauce

My mother’s spaghetti sauce recipe, to be precise. It’s thick, filled with vegetables and perfect for nights I don’t feel like cooking. I usually make this in the summer when the vegetables are cheap and plentiful, but I was out so here we are. I usually use two zucchini, but I had to do three grocery stores to find the one I have. You can add more vegetables (my mother adds mushrooms) or different meats, as you prefer.

A food processor is your friend to cut all the vegetables, or plan ahead and have lots of time if cutting by hand. Don’t be scared by the ingredient list! it all makes sense, I promise. I tend to err on the side of “more vegetables” so those quantities are quite adjustable.

Ingredients
1½ lbs ground beef
1 cup onion
4-5 cloves of garlic
Celery + Zucchini to taste
1 regular sized bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce
1 can Tomato Sauce (20oz)
1 can whole or diced tomatoes (20oz)
1 big can tomato juice
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup green bell pepper
2 to 4 tbsp HP sauce
2 tbsp Heinz 57 sauce
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
A few drops Tabasco
4 bay leaves
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp Sauge
1 tsp Thym
1/4 tsp Marjolaine
1/4 tsp Mixed spices
1 tbsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup red peppers (sweet or hot)

ingredients

Instructions
1. Heat some oil at the bottom of the pot and cook the onions and garlic until fragrant. Add the meat and cook until mostly browned.

2 Add the carrots and celery. Stir in for a minute or two.
meatcarrots

3. Add the Zucchini. Mix well and wait until they start turning soft before the next step.
zucchini

4. Add the bell peppers.
bell-peppers

5. Add the can of tomatoes (with the liquid)
tomatoes

6. Add the tomato sauce, tomato juice and the bottle of chili. Mix well.
juice

7. Add the spices. The sugar is to cancel the acidity of the canned tomatoes. Feel free to skip it if your tomatoes don’t have any acid after taste.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
spices

8. Shimmer on low heat for 3½ – 4 hours. Find something to watch on tv and stir the sauce during the commercial breaks (personal timing trick)

9. Divide into containers and freeze.
containers