Beer/Onion Soup, Asian-ish Chicken


Beer & Onion SoupThursday seems like such a long time ago. However, I ate about 48 lbs of turkey and other delicious things this weekend, and I can’t be expected to write anything intelligible with that much tryptophan in my system. So, better late than never it is – our dinner from Thursday, with recipes from Ricardo Larrivee (AKA Canada’s jolliest Quebec chef).

First – It was cold outside. Of course, bone chilling of any description immediately makes one crave soup. After a few minutes of flipping through my stash of cookbooks, I came across Ricardo’s recipe for Onion Soup with Beer. Interesting, I thought – replacing flavourful alcohol (traditionally red wine, brandy, or similar) with another equally flavourful alcoholic liquid. So, I gave it a shot with a few modifications, and avoided tears by donning ski goggles while chopping onions. You can find the original recipe on Food Network’s site.

Eye ProtectionWhat You’ll Need:

  • 8-10 yellow onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of margarine
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 bottle of beer (we used Rickard’s Red)
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 4-5 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 thick diagonal slices of baguette, toasted
  • 2 cups grated gruyere cheese
  • Salt and pepper

What You’ll Do:

  • After chopping up all those onions, and crying like you just watched Marley & Me, brown the onions with the margarine/butter for about 30 minutes, until they’re really nice and brown. Seriously, the browner they are, the tastier your soup will be.
  • When you’re satisfied, sprinkle in the flour and stir it all together. Cook for another minute or two.
  • Pour in the beer, and toss in the mustard. (You could also add some aromatic flavour here – Thyme and Bay leaf would be good options). Stir the works up until it starts to boil, then let it cook for a few minutes.
  • Add in your chicken broth, and again bring it up to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes or so, so the flavours get all happy together.
  • Now would be a good time to season your soup with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Under your broiler, melt the cheese onto your baguette slices (or don’t, this is purely optional. Deliciously optional.)
  • Enjoy the masterpiece you’ve created!

Ah, the glory of soup. But, I decided that protein was necessary at this meal, so in a completely random and ethnically confusing move, I made a variation on another Ricardo gem – General Tao’s Chicken.

What You’ll Need:

  • Caramel Cooking

    Caramel... Don't touch it!

    Chicken of your choosing – Chicken Thighs or Wings are good choices – about 1 pound

  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves grated garlic
  • 1-2 teaspoons of sriracha (don’t know what this is? All you need to know.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 3 tablespoons of water (again)
  • 1/2 cup sugar

What You’ll Do:

  • General Tao's Chicken

    General Tao's Chicken

    Cook up your chicken however you like – I pan fried it, but grilled or roasting would work too.

  • Mix up everything except the sugar and second instance of water in a bowl – make sure it isn’t lumpy!
  • Put the sugar and water in a sauce pot on medium heat, and don’t touch it! Let it all dissolve and come to a boil. Believe me, resist the urge to stir, swirl, or otherwise disrupt the magic you’re witnessing. Eventually, your caramel with start to brown. When this starts to happen, pour in the cornstarch mix from earlier, and stir until it’s all smooth.
  • Now, reheat your chicken in the sauce, and enjoy!

So, how did this all turn out? The chicken was gosh darn delicious, tasting like homemade ginger beef. I wouldn’t hesitate to make this sauce again, and put it on anything. Seriously, meat, vegetables, out of a glass – it’s a tasty sauce. The soup on the other hand was good, but could have been better – as I mentioned above, I think it needs some herb flavour in it, and I definitely could have browned my onions some more. All in all, a successful food adventure!

As always, let us know what you think!

~FoodBunch

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