Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sage, Apple, Onion Soup, Cheddar Bacon Crouton

A different flavor profile to a familiar format. 7 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, so it's time to fire up a few soup recipes that have been in the queue. Could this be the year?

I highly encourage you to make your own chicken stock. It is very very simple and the depth of flavor it adds to dishes such as soups and risottos, absolutely worth it. Yes, you could get away with canned broth. But you could also have something much tastier. You could also take the butchers word for it, or you could...damn I always get that backward. Never mind.

Sage, Apple, Onion Soup, Cheddar Bacon Crouton

1 TB unsalted butter
2 medium onions, sliced thin
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4" slices
kosher salt
4 C chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 C canned low-sodium beef broth
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper
4 oz sharp Cheddar cheese, freshly grated
1/2 lb bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2.5 ts, fresh sage, finely chopped
1/2 French baguette , cut on the bias into 6-8 3/4" thick slices

Get your big-ass dutch oven over medium-low heat on the cooktop, add the butter, a pinch of kosher and then slowly caramelize the onion and apple for about 45 minutes to an hour or so. The lower, the slower, the better. Open wine and assemble all other ingredients.

Once properly caramelized, add the red wine and using a wooden spatula, scrape up the tasty bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. That there is flavor. Add the chicken and beef stock, then the bay leaf and bring to a quick boil. Immediately after boil, simmer over low heat, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or so to blend flavors. Add black pepper and then taste and adjust with salt if needed.

Fire up your broiler on high, arrange a rack about 6-8" below. Combine the shredded cheddar and bacon in a small bowl. Place two baguette slices on each crock, then the bacon cheese mixture. Place on a heavy-duty cookie sheet (I use two) and under the salamander for 4-5 minutes, rotating often, until golden brown and delicious. Yes, delicious. And golden brown.

Pairs well with a light, fruity red such as our good friend Pinot Noir, or a Cotes du Rhone. Also goes well as a snow day snack with 5-7" freshie on top of the 3-4 that is already down. Damn you Chicago for not having any hills.

No, you should not walk away and check the laundry or something once under the broiler. Keep close to ensure this doesn't burn, that would not be tasty.

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