The chef for this weeks FNCCC this week is Emeril Lagasse. There are more than 5000 of his recipes to choose from, and I think that 4999 of them either have prohibitively expensive ingredients or ingredients that I can't find here. That's not totally true, but most of the ones I thought looked good had one or two ingredients that were integral to the recipe that I wouldn't be able to get. I'm totally willing to do substitutions, but in most cases nothing I would've subbed would've stayed true to the recipe.
I finally found something that I thought I could handle- soup. What I didn't know was that it was ugly soup. Really ugly soup. There seems to be a reason that this soup didn't have a picture on the website. It's just that ugly. Tricky camera angles and editing have made it slightly less ugly, but I'm really not lying.
Ugly Roasted Garlic and Onion Soup
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William and Morrow, 1993.
4 to 6 large red onions (3 1/2 pounds), quartered
Cloves from 2 large heads of garlic (about 1 cup), peeled
2 shallots (about 1/3 cup), peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Essence, recipe follows
6 cups chicken stock (I used water and veggie bullion)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves (I used about 1/2 tsp dried)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves (I used about 1/2 tsp dried)
3/4 teaspoon salt (skipped this, the bullion powder has enough salt and the reviews on foodnetwork.com indicated it didn't need it)
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup cream (I used evaporated milk to cut down on the calories a little)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine the onions, garlic, and shallots in a roasting pan just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add the olive oil and Essence and toss to coat. Roast until well browned, about 1 1/2 hours (1 1/2 hours would've left me with smoldering cinders in the bottom of the pan. I did 45 minutes and even then there was a lot of charring. If you want to roast the garlic and onions for 1 1/2 hours then drop the heat).
Remove the pan from the oven and set over 2 burners on medium-low heat . Add 2 cups of chicken stock, sage, thyme and salt. Cook for 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to incorporate any of the caramelized bits from the bottom. (I have a flat top stove, so putting the roasting pan on the burners wouldn't work very well. Instead I poured 2 cups of boiling water over the top and scraped up all the good bits from the bottom of the pan. I then transfered it to a stock pot and did the 10 minutes of cooking there)
Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth, about 2 minutes (or use your magical wondrous stick blender).
Transfer the mixture to a large pot over medium-low heat (or not, depending on how you do things). Add remaining 4 cups chicken stock and balsamic vinegar, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and stir in cream. Serve with French bread.
Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
* 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
* 2 tablespoons salt
* 2 tablespoons garlic powder
* 1 tablespoon black pepper
* 1 tablespoon onion powder
* 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
* 1 tablespoon dried oregano
* 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup
(Put the rest it in a nice shaker jar)
The Verdict: This was way spicier than I had expected, but not in a bad way. I think if you left out or changed up some of the spices it'd make a really good base for some sort of beef stew.
Martijn thought it resembled Gulash the way it's being served in the Czech Republic and Hungary. He also said it's not ugly, but reminded him of the wonderful goodness that he got served during his holidays there.