There's a Sop in My Soup

Of course there is - what would a French onion soup be without a toasted crouton, aka a sop? Sops are used for soaking up a warm liquid, broth or wine, and was the term used in days of yore. I guess it was only natural that the word soup derived from sop. 

The mixture of these five onions gives a nice character to the soup. But, no sweat if you have less than five, just use a sweet onion such as OSO which I found this week at the market and you'll have a tasty version. The so called bar of success in making an onion soup is all the slow cooking and gradual 'caramelizing' of the onions. The natural sweetness from the onions adds the rich robust flavor and golden brown color, the prize in this soup. 

soup-frenchonion.jpg

CREAMY FIVE ONION SOUP

Makes 6-8 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

This easy to prepare hearty soup for a cool night makes for a wonderful dinner or rustic appetizer. 

2 Tablespoons olive oil 

2 each sweet onions*, chopped 

3 cloves garlic, chopped 

6 each Chipolini onions, chopped 

1 each red onion, chopped 

1 green onion, chopped 

1 Tablespoon flour 

1/2 cup tomato sauce 

2 teaspoons dried thyme 

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon Fresh ground black pepper to taste

1 cup white wine

1/2 cup potatoes, peeled and chopped 

2 cups chicken broth 

2 cups beef broth 

Optional:

1/2 cup half and half

French bread croutons

Parmesan, Emmental, or Gruyere cheese

Pre heat a large soup or saucepot to a medium heat. Add olive oil, sweet onions, garlic, chipolini onions, red onion and green onion. Cook for 10 minutes without stirring until you begin to see the onions in the bottom of the pot begin to brown, Stir, and allow the onions to continue to further brown. Stir and allow onions to cook for an additional five minutes. Total cooking time of onions will be about 20 minutes or more.

Season with thyme, bay leaves, pepper, add tomato sauce, flour and stir. Add white wine and cook for 5 minutes or until dry. Add chicken broth, beef broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer, cover and cook about 30 minutes. 

Remove bay leaves then, puree one half of soup in blender or food processor.

Return pureed soup back to soup pot. Bring soup back to a boil; reduce temperature down to a simmer. Add optional half and half. Serve with a toasted French bread crouton, top with grated Parmesan and melt Emmental or Gruyere cheese. 

*Note on onions: Soup may be made with any type sweet onions and garlic only. Or, you may use addition of any onion family such as leeks, chives, etc. 

Quantity:
Add to Cart

Divided BY Chowder

Celebrating Chef George's 25th Anniversary on PBS

If there is one thing I have learned as a chef there as many versions of chowder recipes as there are people who enjoy this soup, err..I mean stew..no I think soup?  

George Hirsch Chowder

Each of my cookbooks and TV series has a version of some sort of a chowder recipe. I have judged chowder contests, participated in chef chowder tastings, and been a referee at a few chowder-boxing matches. Well, not really, but people do get heated up over red or white chowder. 

What really is chowder? The word "chowder" comes from the French word chaudiere, or caldron, the vessel in which the dish was cooked. And, derives from the word "jowter," meaning fishmonger, a term that was used in 16th century coastal regions of England.

George Hirsch Seafood

Is it a soup or stew? Early versions of chowder simmered from the New England area and was basically a frugal recipe of pork fat, onions, potatoes, fish, herbs, dry biscuits or flour for thickening, layered in a pot and cooked in water, with a little milk added at the end. In the 1800’s the Manhattan clam chowder was notable because it contains tomatoes. James Beard described Manhattan clam chowder "that rather horrendous soup called Manhattan clam chowder resembles a vegetable soup that accidentally had some clams dumped into it." All respect Mr. Beard, but those are fighting words. As a New Yorker and from coastal Long Island, an East Ender we take our chowder VERY serious. See, how a discussion on chowder can turn into a sparring match.

Tomato-based clam chowders came about with the newfound popularity of the tomato in the mid-1800s with the large population of Italians and Portuguese in New York and Rhode Island region. Still, there is no chowder harmony. In 1939, Maine legislators introduced a bill outlawing the use of tomatoes in chowder because it is far more of a vegetable soup. What? 

I can end this entire soup divide right now. Aside from any vegetables, corn, chicken or other non-seafarer ingredient for the stew--here are three versions you can enjoy from my TV series and cookbooks. They have satisfied many and with hope can prevent a nation from future chowder conflict. 

Manhattan vs. New England Chowder N.E. not my fav..

Seafood Chowder Yes, now this is a stew!

Quantity:
Add to Cart

White Bean Casserole as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

Join me CreateTV George Hirsch Lifestyle Sat March 9th 6AM/6PM + Sun March 10 12PM

This easy to prepare hearty soup makes for a wonderful mid-week dinner or rustic weekend starter. I have even prepared gallons of this warming soup for tailgates. For a creamier soup, puree half.   

George_Hirsch_Lifestyle_White_Bean_Casserole105 s.png

White Bean Casserole

Makes 6 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.comGeorge Hirsch Lifestyle 

2 Tablespoons olive oil  

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped carrot

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes 

1 cup potatoes, peeled and chopped 

3 cups chicken broth 

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed 

3 links Italian or smoked sausage, pre-grilled and sliced  

2 cups Kale, washed, dried and chopped 

Fresh ground black pepper to taste 

Pre heat a large soup or sauce pot to a medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, hot pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are tender, do not brown. Add the potato, sausage, broth, beans and basil. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer, cover and cook about 30 minutes. 

Bring soup back to a boil, turn down to a simmer and add the kale. Cook until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add pepper to taste. 

For a creamier soup, pulse half of the soup or puree in a food processor. Bring soup back up to a boil until well blended. 

Optional Substitution for Kale: Spinach, Escarole, Swiss Chard, Broccoli Rabe

Quantity:
Add to Cart