A few years ago we discovered an amazing soup at a local restaurant that really knocked our socks off. It is presented much like a French onion soup with Gruyere melted on the top of it. We where very enamored, but they only server it during December so we set out to make it ourselves. It turns out that the mother of friend of mine had a copy of the now out of print cookbook that this restaurant had put out so we went to work recreating it. I've made it several times now, and everytime we learn something about the process and how to make the final product better. The stock is the most labor intensive part of the process so decided to make a tripple batch of it recently so we could make it for ourselves during the winter and spring.
The recipe is as follows:
- Assemble 10-quart stockpot, colander/strainer, cheesecloth and 6-8-quart storage container(s).
- Place onions, shallots, leeks, garlic with 2 C cold water in stockpot. Cover pot and place over high heat until water begins to boil. Reduce heat to med and simmer 15 min or until vegetables become soft.
- Add herbs, salt, peppercorns, and wine to pot (take a swig). Once water is boiling, reduce heat to med-low, keep partially covered and allow to simmer 2-2-1/2 hours.
- Once liquid has turned dark brown color, remove from heat and strain through colander into storage container(s). Allow contents of pot to drain a few minutes before discarding remains from colander.
- Clean soup pot and place strainer lined with cheesecloth over it. Slowly pour stock through cheesecloth. Stock is finished. Have some wine!
- You can use stock now or cool in an ice bath, whisking until it cools sufficiently for storage in refrigerator or freezer.
Here you can see my 7½ gallon pot loaded with vegetables and getting ready to boil.
To make the processing more effective I choose to use a stick blender to break the vegetable pieces down for straining. I started straining around 8pm and while I wasn't "finished" I was done working on it around 3am. It is probably close to 3 gallons of stock, not all of it is fully processed the lightest color in the bottle is what you are aiming for, the darker colored containers on the left are still in need of processing. I froze everything and will strain the dark ones as they are thawed, but I estimate that each stack of broth should feed 4 people.
I'll post the recipe for the soup later, I was trying to find a picture of the finished product somewhere but apparently I didn't ever take a photo of it.