Onions. They're the basis of many cuisines worldwide. They're yummy, plentiful and delicious, not to mention inexpensive.
I've recently discovered quite a bit of information on the potential health benefits of onions. I was previously under the impression that, for the diabetic patient, onions should be eaten in moderation (since they break down into simple sugars), but this website suggests otherwise--that onions help regulate blood sugar. Go figure!
From cancer prevention to the onion's anti-inflammatory properties, onions seem to be the vegetable of choice. I even read once--I'm afraid I don't remember where, though--that onions help you during allergy season, acting as a natural anti-histamine. Whatever it's health benefits, however, I eat them for one reason only: they taste good.
Mind you I don't* eat them raw. Blech. Gross. Yucky.
Cooked down, a pile of onions become a mahagony-colored sweet treat. The stronger the onion, the sweeter they caramelize. And I don't mess with a pinch of sugar like some foodbloggers would lead you to do--it's completely, utterly unnecessary.
But I'm getting ahead of myself here.
The weather here in Central New York has been interesting. Overnights are cold, but the days get hot, hot, HOT! If we hadn't already drained the pool it would be good swimmin' weather, it's that hot.
Which makes it uncomfortably hot indoors when I want to cook--so I do the next best thing. I recently made a beef rump roast overnight at 250*F in a tightly sealed pot with water, salt and pepper. It didn't heat up the house and made a lovely broth in the pot that I couldn't resist.
That's what made me think of onion soup.
So I caramelized down some onions in butter with just salt and pepper. I prefer plain old yellow onions. You could use red or any other kind of onion you like, though the milder onions don't get as sweet. Once they were brown, I added broth and beef drippings (that yummy gelatin saved from a previous beef-cooking extravaganza) for a quick simmer. Soy sauce helped add salt and color, and I finished the seasoning with a little extra salt and pepper. Ladled into a crock and topped with stale baguette and a thick slice of provolone, I sent it under the broiler for five minutes.
serves 2 as large lunch portions
2 to 3 large yellow (or variety of choice) onions, peeled and sliced thinly
3 tablespoons butter
several grinds freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups beef broth
3 tablespoons beef drippings (optional)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
leftover stale baguette slices
gruyere, swiss or provolone cheese slices (gruyere would be more traditional; I used provolone because I keep it on-hand)
Saute onions in butter with salt and pepper, stirring often, until dark brown and caramelized. Add beef broth and drippings and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with soy sauce and additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve topped with baguette slices and cheese, broiled until cheese is bubbly but not burned.
*There is one exception to my no-raw-onion rule: when they're sliced thin and marinated in Mojo Criollo to the point of no longer tasting like onions, I find them irresistible as a garnish on Cuban roast pork.