I thought this was a great topic, since we often have a food specific theme, and I am very excited to see the variety that comes out of it. I had many items to consider since I often get kitchen related gifts - such as the tagine my parents gave me yesterday. I have platters and a cake plate from my grandma, wine glasses from my mother-in-law, various gadget from my bridal shower, etc. However, with our recent winter-like weather, I was inspired to make a soup and use the ceramic french onion soup bowls I have from my mom. I even used the homemade placemats she gave me for Christmas in some of the shots.
I've made french onion soup at least twice before, but since I love tom yum gai soup so much, I thought I would try a Thai twist and play around with the flavours.
Thai Twist French Onion Soup
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
5 medium white onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
pinch of salt and pepper
1 piece fresh ginger (2-3", size of your thumb), grated
1 lemon grass stalk, smashed & cut into 3 pieces
1-2 red Thai chili peppers, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups beef broth
1/2 whole wheat baguette
1/2-1 cup Emmental cheese, shredded
1. Melt butter and oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. I learned from chef Michael Smith that combining the two protects the butter and it's flavour from burning (and I also use his concept of caramelizing the onions). Add the onions, sugar, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and a splash of water. Stir and cover, cooking for 10-15 minutes.
2. Remove the lid and reduce to medium low, stirring frequently to keep the onions from sticking, for about 30-40 minutes until the onions take on a darker caramel colour.
3. Add the ginger, lemon grass, chili pepper(s), garlic, and broth. Simmer for 25 minutes. Meanwhile slice the 1/2 baguette into 1/2" pieces (I made 8) and turn on your broiler. Place the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly toast each side.
4. Remove the lemon grass and discard. Spoon the soup into four oven safe dishes, top with toasted bread and shredded cheese. Place under broiler until cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy!
Steph Langdon, RD