Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

This is the cranberry sauce I make every year for Thanksgiving, although it's great anytime.  It has only 3 ingredients, is not cooked, can be made in 5 minutes, and is delicious!


One medium bag fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained

1 large navel orange, with peel still on, washed and rinsed, and (with peel still on!) cut into halves, then each half cut in eight pieces

3/4 - 1 cup sugar, to taste


In a food processor, in batches, process a handful or two of cranberries with some orange pieces.  Process until consistency is minced, but not too fine.  Put the minced fruit into a serving dish, and continue processing more batches of cranberries and oranges, until you are finished.  Add the sugar to all the minced fruit in the bowl and stir -- start with 3/4 cup sugar  and if that's now sweet enough, you can add more.  Refrigerate until cold, and serve.  Can be made a day or two ahead.

French Onion Soup

Homemade French Onion Soup is the best!  The most important part of the preparation is to cook the onions slowly for a long time -- that's the  key to the sweetness.  Over med-low heat it should take at least half an hour -- it took me an hour when I made it today  (although I was also trying to help Andrew with his algebra homework).  Do not try to rush it, the onions should not brown at all, just aiming for a nice golden color and very soft. (Note: you can use Provolone or Parmesan, instead of Swiss cheese, depending on what you like and what you have on hand-- it is all good, except Parmesan will have to be grated or very thinly sliced!)  Makes 4-6 bowls.


4 large onions, cut in half and then sliced very thin ( I like to mix white onions and sweet onions, like Vidalia)

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)

4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour 

32 oz. beef broth (College Inn packaged broth is good, and does not need to be diluted like Campbell's)

1 can Campbell's beef consomme, plus 1 can water to dilute (this gives a little more flavor than just broth)

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper 

fresh sliced French bread (baguette or sourdough) -- about 1/2 inch thick

slices Swiss cheese (1-2 pieces to cover the bread, depending on type of cheese -- lacey needs 2 pieces) (See Note above)

When the onions first go in the pot.

See how much they cook down!

In a large pot, melt butter on med-low heat, add onion slices and cook on med-low heat, stirring occasionally until onions are soft and golden (caramelized) -- (see notes at top of recipe) -- this will take 1/2 - one hour.  It seems like a lot of onions, but they do cook down. You may have to turn down the heat near the end; you do not want the onions to burn or be crisp. When onions are done, add the 4 Tbsp. flour to them, and stir thoroughly.  Cook another minute or two, stirring.  Add the beef broth, consomme, water, salt and pepper; stir to mix well.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn down heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.


Ladle some soup in each bowl -- not higher than about an inch below the top of the bowl to leave room for the bread and cheese.  Put the bread slice (or slices, if baguette) on top of the soup.  Put the cheese slice(s) on top of the bread. Arrange it so that when it melts, it all stays in the bowl.  Put the bowls on a cookie sheet.  Carefully place the cookie sheet in the oven on the middle shelf.  Turn on the broiler.  Keep the oven door open a bit and watch continuously until the cheese is melted and just begins to brown a bit.  This does not take more than a minute. Immediately remove from the oven and serve.