GROW: The Book
That sounds really good! I've never seen leeks at my local grocery store. Will have to look at growing some.
This is one of my absolute favorite dishes, but it is hard for me to write it down. My family came her in three waves of immigration from France, beginning with the Huguenots who settled around Charleston SC in the early 1700s.... but really, my Catholic French folks from the islands came to the "New World" about a century earlier, but they only came to the Carolinas after the slave revolts on the sugar plantations. Next, came the Acadians from Nova Scotia... a lot of them settled in French areas of the east coast rather than go all the way to Louisiana. But ALL of them loved French Onion Soup! As such, I did not inherit a set recipe. But, it all starts the way folks used to do things (and still should) when stocks and broths cooked for weeks on end, low and slow, at the back of the fire (when folks cooked with wood). Some times, stock would be passed down like a sourdough starter. So, my recipe would start by roasting bones and vegetable scraps, breaking the bones and adding everything to a pot of broth in which meat (mostly poultry) scraps and vegetables have been boiled (broth). Now, you could boil your bones down for hours or days, first... and maybe you would if you were cooking fancy and wanted your stock and broth to be very clear... but for home cooking, not much straining is required. Do skim off any foam that forms on top. Add cloves, a few bay leaves, black pepper, salt, parsley and thyme. Keep cooking it down until it is rich and wonderful. Now, Chop up about 5lbs of onions, fine (save the skins and ends for the next stock). Throw them in a pot, with plenty of butter and some olive oil (to keep the butter from burning) and a palm full of salt. Cook them low and slow until they caramelize. Add two whole cloves of peeled and chopped garlic, about a pound of peeled and chopped shallots (if you have them) and 2-4 chopped leeks (if you have them) or plenty of green onions and chives.... and a bunch of celery tops and cook them down, adding more butter or oil, if necessary. Cook everything down, seasoning to taste. Add about 1 cup to a half bottle of white wine and your stock/broth soup base. Simmer of an hour of 12. The soup should be dark brown and very rich. Serve in ramakins or small casserole dishes, heat proof soup bowls... whatever. Add a splash of sherry to each bowl. Top with bread that has been fried in butter, brushed with garlic and sprinkled parsley. On top of the bread (floating in the soup, but not getting soggy because it has a nice, browned coating of butter), grate good Swiss cheese (the real stuff). Put your serving dishes on a sheet pan and place them under the broiler of your oven and broil until the cheese is brown and bubbly. If you really take your time with this... using weeks work of vegetable and meat scraps in the broth and bones in the stock, browning everything at every step, not forgetting the cloves, herbs and wine...using rich butter... It is life changing.
Your family history is an interesting read as I really enjoy reading about the lives of those who came before us and what they had to endure, their adventures, the way they cooked, hunted, helped each other and on and on.
I appreciate the time you took in sharing this recipe and it truly sounds like one that I will enjoy making, eating and sharing for as long as I am able to cook. And then the people I will nag to cook it for me when I can't anymore lol.
Thank you very much for this recipe and it's complex 'brewing' will surely be much better than what I posted.
@silvertipgrizz I have never used leeks in my French Onion soup but what a good idea! Will have to try that. I worked in a high-end restaurant once that had FO soup on the menu. Their recipe had a bit of grated apple added after the onions were carmelized and the stock added. Then a splash of brandy at the very end to finish it.
Oh, I almost forgot, you can make onion soup with ramps, too. The taste is rich and sweet, not too strong, but the smell would probably get rid of any unwanted house guests... or even neighbors!
@torey Did the apple make the taste any sweeter, or change in any other way?
@silvertipgrizz Yes, it gave it a tangy sweetness. Really nice.
@judsoncarroll4 ramps as in onions or garlic or either? And what smell so strong would run people off?
Don't you just LOVE adding fruit to meat and veggie dishes!!!
I just love a roasted chicken on a bed of salad greens and makings, with some fruit or veggie vinegarette, and a good match for the meat fruit on the plate as well.
Note, it would be slices or chunks of the roasted chicken on the salad plate and to the side, the fruit on the side for a very fresh and beautiful look, then the vinegarette, my fav's are raspberry, crnaberry and green pepper all on the side so as not to mush up the wonderful salad until it's ready for the 'through the lips and onto the tongue' time.🤣🤣🤣
@silvertipgrizz Yes, I agree. I love making condiments out of fruit. Fruit chutney is one of my husband favourite things on almost anything. My favourites include fruit vinaigrettes on salads, especially with a bit of chicken or maybe some seafood (fresh salmon or prawns). Raspberry is lovely. Saskatoons are another favourite for vinaigrette.
Ramps or ramsons are wild leeks.