I know I haven’t posted anything in a while, but I’ve got a great excuse this time! D and I went to Greece for 10 days and we just got back on Sunday night! So stay tuned for day to day stories about our travels, and in the meantime I present this month’s daring cooks challenge! The mandatory items were to make a soup and an accompaniment. The real assignment was to make a stock, turn it into a soup and then into a consomme. Since I had never even heard of a consomme I figured this was going to be a real challenge. And I really just wasn’t up for it after all the traveling I’m be doing this past month. So instead of the consomme (which is when you take a good quality stock add egg white mixture with ground meat to it to create a raft which sucks up all the impurities from the soup and then you have a perfectly clear stock) which seems incredibly intimidating I settled on a home made from scratch beef stock turned into french onion soup with a herb brioche. I’d like to add that I’ve never made beef stock before and if you think it’s like chicken stock but with beef, you’re way off. Apparently to make a real beef stock you need lots of beef bones. Initially I was going to settle with 1 beef bones and lots of meat but my mom told me this would not make for a decent beef stock. And so I ventured into Giant in search of beef bones. I picked up some ox tails and beef short ribs – both of which I have never bought before. Also as I came to find out you can’t just throw the bones into the pot – you’re supposed to roast them first at 400 degrees for up to an hour. And then the stock itself is supposed to cook for at least 3-4 hours – if not more like 24! I really wish I had a huge pot so that I could have made enough to last all year – but unfortunately with the bones and vegetables my 5 quart dutch oven could only fit 3 liters of water. So that’s all I made. The stock itself was delicious – really hearty and rich. Cannot even be compared to the dry bouillon cubes or the canned liquid stock. To turn the stock into french onion soup you need to caramelize the onions – which also takes hours. Overall from start to finish the whole process took 4 hours and created quite the mess.
I thought the result was delicious – the rich stock, the slightly sweet onions, the broiled shredded gruyere sprinkled over slices of baguette…Hmmm so good. D didn’t think so though — apparently it was too “oniony” for him. Thankfully he at least liked the herb brioche – which still slightly warm from the oven with a sliver of melted butter tastes similar to a home made garlic bread. This may of course just be because I overloaded it with garlic. Either way, it was delicious. And i definitely enjoyed 4 slices of it this morning. Overall another successful daring cooks challenge!
Lastly, if onions are not your cup o’ tea, perhaps the Mediterranean influenced French cuisine in the French riviera would be more to your liking. This beautiful region of France is located in the Mediterranean section of the country close to the coast. I recommend travelling to the area and staying in one of the coastal french riviera villa rentals to experience the rich culture, cuisine and scenery. The expert use of seafood, herbs de Provence, olive oil and fresh local produce have resulted in exquisite soups and stews like Bouillabaisse and Soupe de Poissons. The flavor of these dishes alone makes the trip worth your while!”