Beef & onion soup

Aka:  French onion soup !  This is my version of this soup in which I add small bits of beef, crouton the bread, and use mozzarella instead of gruyere.

This is also a brilliant  way of using leftover beef bones.  The other day, we bought a couple of prime rib steaks because they were on sale. We paid around $30 for them and then we had a fabulous steak dinner that night. Of coarse, we had leftovers because they were pretty big steaks.  So, over the next few days we had the steak in various forms of lunch type items such as stirfries, sandwiches, etc. 

When most of the meat was used up, l took the bones and made a broth which I used for the soup.  Essentially,  we got around 10 meals out of those two steaks which works out on average to $3 a meal in meat.  Not too bad, eh? ( how can you tell I’m Canadian.) A person could spend $10  on ground beef and only get two meals out of it.  So, which is the better deal? Yes,  the upfront cost of the prime rib is more but the amount of meals and the variety you can derive from that purchase is worth it, in my opinion.  So don’t be afraid to buy a more expensive cut of meat especially if it’s got bones.  All it takes is a little imagination and you can stretch that purchase a long way.  You should see what I can do with a chicken!  But that’s a whole other blog.  So, let’s get to it!  This recipe is for two bowls of soup.

  • Beef bones ( if you’re making your own broth) or fake , processed beef bouillon ( if you are not making your own broth)
  • 4-5 cups of water
  • 1 Tbsp of salt
  • 1tbsp of black peppercorns 
  • 3 bay leaves 
  • 3  medium size onions – sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 Tbsp of red wine vinegar 
  • 1 Tbsp of Worcestershire 
  • 1 Tbsp of onion powder 
  • 1 tsp of ground coriander 
  • Two pieces of good quality bread, like sourdough 
  • About 1/2 cup of mozzarella or more if you like lots of cheese- shredded

Directions:

To make the broth,  place the beef bones into a large saucepan, add the water, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves to the pot.  Bring it to a boil over high heat then put a lid on it,  reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for around two hours.  The reason for 4-5 cups of water for only two bowls of soup is because a lot of that water will be lost due to evaporation.

If you’re not making your own broth just follow the directions on the package of beef bouillon and make enough that you deem appropriate for two bowls of soup.

Once the beef broth is done,  sauté your onions in a medium size saucepan with about a Tbsp of oil.  It’s okay to lightly caramelize the onions, it’ll add to the flavour of the broth.  Now add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes then add the red wine vinegar.  This will help deglaze the pot if the onions are starting to brown.

Okay, grab yourself a sieve or some kind of colander and strain the beef bones, peppercorns, and bay leaves from the liquid  directly into the pot of onions.  Add the worcestershire, onion powder, coriander, and any beef bits from the bones that are left from making the broth  to the soup and let it lightly boil for a good 20 minutes.  This will give it time for all the ingredients in the pot to get happy!  You may wonder why I’m adding onion powder to this soup considering all the onions already in it.  Well…I believe that the onion powder adds complexity and enhances the onion flavour. So there, ha ha!

If you have bowls that can go directly under the broiler great, if not don’t worry there is a way around that.

Time to cube the bread and toast it up.  Ladle the soup into bowls, add the croutons, and top with the shredded mozzarella.  Place the bowls on a cookie sheet ( in case of spills) and put them under the broiler until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown a little.  Voila!  Soup is ready!  Enjoy with a nice big red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon.

So, if you don’t have bowls that can go under the heat of a broiler all you have to do is put the croutons on the cookie sheet and arrange them in round shape.  Put the cheese on the croutons and broil until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown. Then put those cheesy rounds on top of the soup. Easy as that!

Remember to cook with love in your heart- the food will taste better:)

If you try this recipe and want to share your experience please put your comments  in the section below.  Thanks!

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