hello this is chef john from food wishes
comm with Tuscan onion soup that’s right
I love history
and I love food which is why I’ve always
wanted to try making Karel bachi since
this is the ancient ancestor of what
today we call French onion soup and
apparently it was brought to Paris by
the demand cheese like 500 years ago but
anyway I realize you’re not here for a
history lesson I mean most of you are
not even here for a cooking lesson
but regardless let’s go ahead and get
started with this extremely delicious
and very comforting recipe to begin
we’re gonna have to slice up a whole
bunch of onions and not just any onions
one of the things that makes this soup
so unique is we’re gonna use red onions
and to do this right we are gonna need a
fair amount all right believe it or not
I have about four pounds here as these
onions were huge and went about a pound
each and what we’ll do after cutting off
the ends having it and taking off the
skin is cut this into about quarter-inch
slices and as I might have explained to
you before there’s two ways you can do
this okay you see those lines on the
onion sometimes referred to as the grain
okay if we slice these across those
fibers in other words against the grain
with the onion turn this way our pieces
of onion will basically fall apart if
you cook it long enough whereas if we
slice it with the grain in this
direction those pieces will definitely
still get soft but they will hold their
shape which is why that’s how I’m gonna
cut it for this recipe besides I’ve
always thought if you cut it this way
there’s less tears although like so many
of my culinary theories I can’t prove
that but anyway no matter how you slice
them once our four pounds of onions have
been prepped we’re gonna transfer those
into our largest skillet along with a
few tablespoons of olive oil which we
have set over medium-high heat and we’re
also going to toss in a fairly large
amount of kosher salt and yes if you
want you can do this step in a roasting
pan in the oven which is a nice and very
passive way to accomplish this step but
for whatever reason I decided to go with
the stovetop I guess I was in kind of a
stirring mood
speaking of which because I have such a
ridiculous amount of onions in the pan I
wasn’t actually able to do too much
stirring until these heated through and
kind of slumped down in the pan but once
that happened I was fine
and at that point we’ll reduce our heat
to medium and cook these stirring
occasionally for a long long long time
is in like about an hour or until they
get very very very soft and sweet and if
everything goes according to plan and
you cut them in the same direction I did
they’re gonna probably look a little
something like this
and by the way if you’re tempted to turn
up the heat to save a little time don’t
all right for this recipe we really do
not want to brown the onions which will
definitely change the flavor profile so
leave it on medium or lower and take
your time and then what we’ll do once
our onions are to this point is go ahead
and add exactly three sage leaves as
well as some freshly ground black pepper
and then a very very small pinch of
cinnamon all right just a very small
hint and that is the ingredient here
that makes this soup taste so unique and
it also apparently makes it authentic as
does the next ingredient a little bit of
ground almond and what we’ll do is give
this a stir and let it cook for about
two or three minutes so that our onions
in olive oil have a little bit of time
to absorb those flavors and for the
record those last two ingredients were
totally optional and they’re often not
even found in modern versions of this
recipe especially the cinnamon because
while it is true that does make this
unique and authentic
it is also true it could have many
people not liking the flavor of this
soup and the reason is when you add
cinnamon to something it will generally
amplify this sweetness of the dish and
since slowly cook onions are already
very sweet to begin with the addition of
the cinnamon for some folks is just
going to make this too sweet and not
savory tasting enough and by the way I’m
gonna spend most of the blogpost talking
about that very issue but anyway like I
said we will cook that stirring for a
couple minutes at which point we can
transfer that mixture into a saucepan or
soup pot and then speaking of sweetness
to balance things out we will add three
tablespoons of red wine vinegar and then
last but not least five or six cups of a
good-quality stock or broth which
classically would be a vegetable stock
but as you can probably see from the fat
droplets floating on the top that’s not
what I used
all right vegetables don’t have fat
which is one of my main problems with
them so I went with a beautiful homemade
beef broth and by the way they say this
was Leonardo da Vinci’s favorite soup
since he was in fact a devout vegetarian
true story but anyway regardless of
which use we will go ahead and stir that
in and then bring this up to a simmer on
high heat and then once it’s bubbling we
will back our heat down to medium low
and cook this for at least thirty
minutes before serving and about a half
hour later my looked a little something
like this and that’s it other than
tasting and adjusting for salt which is
of course mandatory our care Abacha is
done and it is ready to serve
just as soon as we make the toast to go
in the bowl which i was gonna say is
optional but it’s not definitely make
this toast and we will do that by
drizzling some olive oil onto both sides
of some slice to tell you bread and then
once that’s been oiled we’ll go ahead
and apply some thinly sliced sage leaves
and we don’t want too much but we
definitely want enough and then we will
finish this up with some freshly grated
cheese either some pecorino preferably
Tuscan or some parmesan which is what
I’m using so you decide I mean you guys
are after all the Leonardo da Vinci’s of
which cheese but both will work
beautifully and that’s it once cheese
will go ahead and pop it into the center
of a 400 degree oven for about 15
minutes or until beautifully browned and
that’s it once our toast is done we can
move on to final production so we’ll go
ahead and fill up a bowl with our
beautiful red onion soup and by the way
the ancient Tuscans would have
definitely put the toast at the bottom
of the bowl and then ladle the soup over
the top so as to fully saturate and
soften the bread but you know what the
ancient Tuscans did not have to take
pictures so I’m gonna be putting my
toast on top and I’ll finish this off
with a little more olive oil and a lot
more cheese and I think as long as we
promise to dunk this into the soup and
let it soak for a few minutes before
eating everybody’s gonna be fine with
this approach even ancient Tuscans so
that’s what I did I took a few pictures
and then submerged the bread and let it
soak for a minute or two before digging
in and that my friends was one very
delicious but very unusual onion soup ok
very similar to French onion soup for
obvious reasons but what makes it so
unique is the way that little touch of
cinnamon really enhances the sweetness
of the onions which as I mentioned
earlier may or may not be something
you’re into and
again we’re gonna cover that in the blog
post and I think if I was just enjoying
the soup without that cheesy sage bread
it might have been too sweet but when
you pair that extra savoriness from the
toast with the soup
it really does actually work quite well
but anyway above and beyond paying
attention to the amount of cinnamon this
really wasn’t extraordinarily
interesting and complex soup and whether
you do this or not at least now you know
the origins of French onion soup in case
it ever comes up in conversation which
it won’t but anyway that’s it might take
Ankara bachi I assume I’m pronouncing
that perfectly but if not please let me
know but no matter how you say it I
really do hope you give it a try soon so
head over to food whooshes calm for all
the ingredient amounts of more info as
usual and as always enjoy

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