My husband is traveling all week, but right before taking him to the airport, his allergies were bothering him. I gave him antihistamine and prepared a French onion soup-inspired broth to ease his congestion. The broth was made of a combination of red wine, beef bones and loads of onions. I thickened it with a simple roux (flour and butter mixture) and upped the flavored with fresh thyme.
I served the broth with cheesy cornucopia (horn-shaped) puff pastry appetizers. They provided the perfect contrast of texture with the flavorful broth.
1. Info for Red Wine Onion Beef Broth
- Cook Time: unavailable
- Total Time: unavailable
- Servings: 6
- Calories: unavailable
2. Ingredients for Red Wine Onion Beef Broth
- 5 yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (optional)
- 1 dozen beef knuckle bones (the more, the sweeter the broth will be)
- 1½ cups red wine (any leftover you might have)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, bruised
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for the puff pastry
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus extra for the puff pastry
3.1 Charring 1 onion
Peel one whole onion without cutting the stem to make sure the onion doesn’t fall apart in the broth. Place a grill on your stove, then char all the skin of the onion. Wrap it in aluminum foil. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Wash the onion under running water; the blackened skin will come right off. This will help release all the sweet, smoky flavor.
3.2 For the beef broth
In a pot, soak the beef bones in about a quart of water with 1 tablespoon of salt (preferably overnight). The next day, rinse the bones, place them in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the water. Rinse the bones under running water and set aside. This step is important to get clear broth before starting the long, slow cooking. Fill a large stockpot with 3½ quarts of water. Bring to a boil. Add the beef bones, 1 sprig thyme and the whole yellow onion. Bring the liquid back to a gentle boil, then lower the heat to a bubbly simmer. Cook for 1½ to 2 hours. Using a fine mesh strainer, regularly skim the impurities rising to the surface of the broth. Once the broth is cleared of any impurities, return to the pot. Bring to a roaring boil for about 30 minutes and cook until the broth is reduced by 1/3. Season with more salt (if necessary) and pepper. You could add 1 teaspoon sugar. The amount of sugar varies with the number of beef bones and the sweetness of the onion.
Remove and discard the beef bones.
Note: If you’re health conscious, you can remove the fat from the broth: Let the broth cool down to room temperature, plastic wrap the pot tightly and place the whole pot in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. The fat from the broth may pick up some other odors from the refrigerator if the container is not sealed properly. A layer of fat will form at the surface; it can be removed using a large spoon. You can skip this step by using a fine mesh strainer and regularly degreasing as the broth cooks.
3.3 For the red wine onion broth
In a pot, heat the oil. Add the sliced onions and sprigs of thyme and cook for 8-10 minutes until caramelized, golden and fragrant. Transfer to a a blender, discarding the thyme. Add 2 cups of the beef broth and pulse until smooth. Set aside.
In the same pot, melt the butter with the remaining sprig of thyme over medium-low; you don’t want the butter to burn. Bring the heat back up to medium-high (the butter should be hot and golden) and immediately add the flour. Keep stirring with a whisk for approximately 2-3 minutes. The flour should absorb the butter and form a paste. Stir until well incorporated and add the warm beef stock in 3 stages, stirring constantly. Add the onion-flavored liquid from the blender and the wine and increase the heat; cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour ladles full of the onion beef broth, divided among the 6 soup bowls.
Place the strips of cornucopia puff pastry (recipe follows) near the bowl.
4. Tips and advices:
- The flatter the onion, the sweeter it is. I always try to pick flatter-shaped yellow onions at the market. I char the onion to caramelize the outer layer and enhance the sweetness of the broth.
- To make the roux (thickening agent for the broth), I always start with all the ingredients at the same temperature, so make sure to heat the stock in the microwave for about 2 minutes (or in a saucepan), so it’s warm. If you get lumpy pieces in the sauce, don’t hesitate to use a hand blender.
- I made the stock with fresh lemon thyme. You could select your favorite herb.
- For my husband’s version (he’s a vegetarian), I skipped the beef broth and substituted vegetable stock.
- For the cornucopia puff pastry: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Thin store-bought puff pastry dough a little bit with a rolling pin in one direction to get a consistent thickness while rolling the puff pastry. Cut info small rectangles (it doesn’t have to be accurate because they’re going to be rolled). Grate about about 3 ounces of (cold) Dubliner cheese. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Top each puff pastry with cheese. Roll into a horn-shaped appetizer. Twist the tips. Using a sharp knife, score small incisions, crosswise. Bake the puff pastries for about 15 minutes until light golden, flip each pastry then cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. They’re ready!