This was dinner on sunday night. It was as much food as it sounds like. Neither Craig nor myself could finish it, which is a shame, because it was GOOD. On Saturday I decided that I wanted onion soup. Mostly because my future sister-in-law Amanda was making some last week when we were talking to Dan and Amanda on skype, and I had 11ty onions in the pantry because I bought one of those stupid enormous bags of them from costco. When will I ever learn?! The last time I made onion soup, I used canned (or boxed?) beef broth, and it was terrible. Really. It was super salty, no depth of flavor, just… ugh. It makes me a little queasy thinking about it. So I headed to my now not-so-local butcher shop (realistically only 15 minutes away, but still) for some beef bones and walked out with about 4 pounds of joints (the good stuff!) and a couple steaks. Have I ever told you how amazing this butcher shop’s steaks are? They’re delicious, and cheap! Win-win!
I came home and set to roasting the bones in the over for a bit to color them up, then transferring them to a huge stock pot to simmer with some rosemary, thyme, garlic, and a few bay leaves. I let them go from 3pm on saturday til about 8:30 on sunday morning. The house smelled delicious, the broth was all I imagined homemade beef broth should be and more. It was rich, flavorful, and deeply colored. I strained and transferred it to a container that fit in the fridge to chill so I could skim of a hardened layer of fat. A great hint for first time stock makers, don’t salt it! Salt the dish that it goes into and you don’t have to worry about something being overly salty due to your broth. It lets you control the seasoning in the dish instead of just being along for the ride. I also downloaded like 20 episodes of The French Chef, and watched Julia prepare French Onion Soup while I sliced my onions up. After watching her lecture on how a sharp knife is the chef’s most important tool (and deciding to give my wustof a thorough going-over), I proceeded to slice open my pinky while sliding onions off the blade into my bowl. Oh well. Then I just caramelized the onions in butter for about an hour, deglazed the pan with a cup or so of red wine, and added my broth, then let it simmer for about an hour. The wine was necessary in this recipe, the acidity helped to cut the richness of the stock. We also had leftover garlic mashed potatoes, and I figured I’d doll everything up with a parmesan cracker, because they’re delicious and EASY to make.
I pulled the beef broth out of the fridge last night to package up the leftovers to freeze, and it was one solid mass. I effectively made a half gallon of cow flavored jello. MMMM.