Sunday Night Soups, where each week The Gurgling Cod shows up to offer a soup appropriate to the week’s Sunday Night Football game on NBC. We posted the Pork Stock recipe earlier in the week so you'd have time to make it. If you've already read that entry, you know what this soup's about, so just head straight to the recipe now.
This Sunday, the Chicago Bears travel to Wisconsin to face the Green Bay Packers. After dreary NFC East scrimmages and lopsided Belichickian beatdowns, this Norris Division contest is a welcome change. Soupwise, the matchup could hardly be more appealing—the Hog Butchers to the World travel to America's Dairyland. Thus, this tilt demands a soup featuring both pork and cheese. Such a soup exists: French onion soup.
"Where's the pork," you say, echoing the late Clara Peller. "French Onion Soup is made with beef broth."
Mostly, yes, but not in Montreal. At the legendary Au Pied du Cochon, Martin Picard soon realized that the braising liquid that ensued from churning out the eponymous dish could be the basis of a hearty soup. The collagen that comes from the cartilage in the trotter gives the broth a silky body and richness that is impossible to duplicate without trotters.
You may not have to cope with the results of braising hundreds of pigs' feet every week, but pork stock is still a dramatic upgrade over the typical French onion soup. Typical French onion soup is a bistro cliché that often devolves to something queso fundido floating on dishwater. Using a rich pork stock instead results in a soup actually worth eating. This soup is not demanding, but making the stock time-consuming, which is why we gave you the recipe for it earlier this week. If you followed it and are ready to continue with the French onion soup, here's the recipe.
- 1/2 stick butter
- 2 large yellow onions, quartered and thinly sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 quarts Pork Stock
- 8 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated.
- 1 baguette
Melt the butter over low-medium heat in a heavy saucepan—this is a good place to break out the cast iron.
Add onions, and stir occasionally, making sure they do not stick and burn. Add garlic after 15 minutes or so.
Cook onions until they are golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes. Add half a cup of white wine, and stir. ( If you have it, a splash of Cognac or Armagnac, or their lesser brethren, is nice to add at this point.)
Combine the onions, and two quarts or so of your pork stock. Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
To serve: Cut 6 to 8 thin rounds from the baguette. Distribute grated Gruyère on top of rounds. Broil, until cheese is melted, and beginning to brown. Ladle servings of soup into bowls. Using tongs, transfer a cheese toast to each bowl. Serve immediately. Note: Be a bit austere with the cheese. The point of the rich broth, and long simmering, is to make the soup, rather than the cheese, the main event.