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Two hearty soups from one recipe


Homemade Beef Stew and French Onion Soup can share the same base, making two hearty but vastly different soups.

Homemade Beef Stew and French Onion Soup can share the same basic broth, making two hearty but vastly different soups.

It’s winter, it’s cold, there’s a storm brewing, so it’s time to make some nice hot soup. But what to make? My daughter and I had a hankering for French Onion Soup, but Jerry does not like onions, so I tried to think of a way to make us all happy — voila, made a batch of Beef Stew and a batch of French Onion Soup using the same base/broth. Two for one.

So here’s how I made the soups, and a slideshow.

In a huge stock pot, make the soup base with roasted soup bones, stew beef, chopped vegetables (carrots, celery, parsnips, garlic, shallots), water, burgundy, one box of Kitchen Basics beef stock (don’t judge, it adds extra flavor), some fresh herbs – rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, wrapped in a cheesecloth bouquet garni, salt and pepper.

After a couple hours, simmering low and slow, remove the soup bones (set aside, their job is done, feed to dog if you have one). Remove half the soup base (strained, no vegetables/beef) for the French Onion Soup. Add a couple peeled and chopped potatoes to the stew in the pot and cooked until they are tender. Add a little more salt and pepper and Beef Stew is ready to serve with a glass of red wine and hot crusty bread.

For the French Onion Soup: Take the strained reserved soup base and chill it overnight. The next day scrape off the congealed fat, set broth aside. In the soup pot, slowly caramelize in a little oil for 45 minutes or so, low and slow, a variety of thinly-sliced onions – yellow, red, Spanish, and some shallots. Deglaze with white wine and a splash of sherry vinegar and then add the reserved soup broth. Simmered for 20 minutes, adjusted seasonings and then ladled the soup into individual crocks. Top with a toasted slice of French bread and gruyere cheese, put in the oven to melt. Homemade French Onion Soup — perfect on a cold winter’s day.

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