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Stock choice - Am I wrong?


Kim Shook
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I think in the past it was easier to source chicken stock or to make your own which may be why so many French Onion Soup recipes call for chicken stock.

In today's culinary world, beef stock is now easy to find and source, as well.

Plus, it's your dang kitchen, use whatever stock rocks your world, naysayers be damned.:wink:

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2 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

Every recipe I see for French onion soup calls for chicken stock.  I have always used beef stock (or at least half beef stock) - sometimes homemade and sometimes from a carton.  What am I missing in not using (all) chicken stock?

Personally I like the beef stock. Second choice is half and half. Love onion soup.

Edited by demiglace
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I tend to make brown chicken stocks so that works for me. From an aesthetic standpoint I think people often think of the soup as 
"brown" so beef comes to mind. Unless it is really nice beef stock I prefer a dark chicken. 

Edited by heidih (log)
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I have really only ever heard of beef being used but, anything works.. If I didn't have my own beef stock, which I only have turkey, lobster and shrimp in the freezer at the moment, i would most likely make a vegetable stock or mushroom stock or just  go with a lot of wine, some tomato paste and bay as my stock.  But the wine stock with a couple of spoons of demi would be my ideal version. 

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Way back in the 70's when I was in culinary school, the chef teaching the class said 50/50 beef and chicken. Of course he was employed by Minor's. 

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That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

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I haven't made it for a long time, but I always use beef stock, like my French mother taught me.

 

Beef stock in days gone past would have been the cheaper choice. Before the industrialization of chickens, it was an expensive protein.

 

P.S. I only have one mother!

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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@FeChef 

 

I think the key to FOS  is the caramelization of the onions

 

w/o burning 

 

this can be done in an oven,

 

stock is very important 

 

but max caramelization of the onions makes the soup

 

the 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gruyère_che…

 

and the bread , of good quality , on the top w the above helps.

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I developed my recipe by accident, when I had some leftovers to use up. I had stock left from mushroom risotto, which was chicken stock infused with dried porcini. It wasn't quite enough to make soup, but I also had some jus leftover from French dip sandwiches. That was beef stock flavored with sherry, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. I used both -- about 2 parts chicken stock to 1 part beef -- along with onions cooked two ways, and it was by far the best French onion soup I'd ever made, and one of the best I'd tasted. I recently made a batch without beef stock (but with the thyme, W. sauce, and sherry) because the container of beef stock I thought I had didn't exist. It was very good, but not quite as good with some beef stock.

 

As far as what's traditional, I think Ruhlman is probably right that originally it was made with water, since it is, at base, a peasant soup. But I think he's wrong in thinking that the's the best way to make it. Julia Child, Craig Claiborne and James Beard all call for beef stock (Claiborne says good beef stock is more important than onions, which seems misguided to me). Perhaps the large number of recipes that call for chicken stock hark back to the days when canned chicken stock was better than canned beef stock. The cookbook Cook's Illustrated Best Recipes calls for a combination of canned chicken and beef stock along with red wine to avoid calling for homemade beef stock. In short, I think any of those choices are fine, as long as you like the results.

 

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5 hours ago, FeChef said:

Anyone have a good recipe? Ive tried a few online and followed them to the T, and yet it still doesn't have the taste nor texture of most Diners French onion soup.

 

Here's mine, if you're interested. http://hecooks-shecooks.com/french-onion-soup/. I should note that I don't finish it the way most diners do -- I don't cover the top with cheese and bread and broil it. I just float a cheese crouton on top.

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@JAZ, good idea to put the crouton / bread on later. The bread can soak up too much soup in the broiler.

 

I've made French onion soup a few different ways, all good. First way was with both beef & chicken stock plus red wine. Second way was with just water. Third way was with lager beer (Corona or Heineken).

 

Comte cheese is what I've used.

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100% of the restaurant onion soup I've had tasted like it used Minor's beef base as a major flavor component. So much so that when I first tasted Minor's base, I remarked "Oh! So that's what they've been using." 

 

I tend to use homemade beef stock, heavy with gelatin, as the backbone of my onion soup. Sometimes I pump up the flavor by adding Minors and/or some More Than Gourmet beef glace. 

 

The most elaborate way I've ever made the soup was to cook several varieties of sliced onion sous vide with 1% salt for 100 hours. The result is a deeply caramelized onion water that you can dilute down with whatever liquid suits your fancy. I discard the onions themselves, as they're spent after that length of cooking. Gotta cook more onions for the soup itself. Sure, it's sort of over-the-top, but the depth and clarity of the onion flavor is unlike any other soup I've tasted.

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@btbyrd 

 

very interesting re : onion water , via SV

 

"  The result is a deeply caramelized onion water "

 

what temp did you use to get caramelization ?

 

I didn't think you could achieve caramelization via

 

SV , ie 220 F or less.

 

 

Edited by rotuts (log)
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20 minutes ago, btbyrd said:

100% of the restaurant onion soup I've had tasted like it used Minor's beef base as a major flavor component. So much so that when I first tasted Minor's base, I remarked "Oh! So that's what they've been using." 

 

I tend to use homemade beef stock, heavy with gelatin, as the backbone of my onion soup. Sometimes I pump up the flavor by adding Minors and/or some More Than Gourmet beef glace. 

 

The most elaborate way I've ever made the soup was to cook several varieties of sliced onion sous vide with 1% salt for 100 hours. The result is a deeply caramelized onion water that you can dilute down with whatever liquid suits your fancy. I discard the onions themselves, as they're spent after that length of cooking. Gotta cook more onions for the soup itself. Sure, it's sort of over-the-top, but the depth and clarity of the onion flavor is unlike any other soup I've tasted.

 

In a pressure cooker?

 

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@btbyrd 

 

"""   The most elaborate way I've ever made the soup was to cook several varieties of sliced onion sous vide with 1% salt for 100 hours. The result is a deeply caramelized onion water that you can dilute down with whatever liquid suits your fancy. "'

 

Id love to hear more about this .

 

did you take any pics ?

 

if you try this again , would you add pics pre and post ?

 

Im a big SV fan , and this is very new to me and would love to be able to do this.

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I got the idea from Heston Blumenthal, who uses the onion water to make a fluid gel. That was my original exposure to the SV caramelized onion technique. His recipe includes no salt and goes for 96hours at 85C. I think the addition of salt improves yield, but that may just be me imagining things. You'll definitely want to seal up your cooking vessel, as a lot of water will get lost due to evaporation at that time/temp.

 

The first time I made the recipe, I was struck by how much it made my kitchen smell like French onion soup... and it was only a short leap to try making it with SV onion water. I use yellow and white onions as well as shallots.  Like Mokapot mentions above, sweet onions are best avoided because they're too, well, sweet. Haven't tried it with garlic water, but I keep meaning to. I've only made it twice. It's a fun idea and worth trying. I have no pictures of the soup, but will document the next time I make it (probably not until fall or winter). I do have some documentation from the fluid-gel dish though.

 

Here's the onion water in the bag:

post-73474-0-57489700-1419974844_thumb.jpg

 

Set with agar.

post-73474-0-03055000-1419974969_thumb.jpg

 

And on the plate (on both sides covered with toasted sesame seeds)

post-73474-0-03360800-1419975142_thumb.jpg

 

Hanger steak with bok choy, dashi braised daikon, and enoki mushrooms. Literally everything was cooked SV. I was going through a phase, to put things mildly.

Edited by btbyrd (log)
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