AGTV: Stock & Soup

Sorry for the delay in getting you this week’s video. I think it’s safe to say now that I won’t be doing a video every WEDNESDAY, but I will try to do a video every week. This one, as you’re about to see, is an incredibly spontaneous document of my attempt at the chicken stock from yesterday’s interview with Michael Ruhlman. How many carcasses does it take? What do I do with the stock when I’m done? How does Karen Carpenter achieve such a melifluous tone? Watch the video and find out! [And, after the jump, I’ll give you the recipe for the soup that I make in the video’s second half.]

The recipe, for French Onion Soup, comes from The Balthazar Cookbook and it’s unique because it calls for chicken stock instead of the more typical beef stock. For anyone with extra chicken carcasses, though, it’s a great way to turn them into something entirely new and delicious. And don’t skip the port at the end: I bought a bottle for $4.99 (Poor Man’s Port) and it worked fine.

Onion Soup Gratinee

from The Balthazar Cookbook by Keith McNally, Riad Nasr & Lee Hanson


1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

4 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved through the stem end, and sliced 1/4-inch thick

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced

4 sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

3/4 cup dry white wine

2 quarts Chicken Stock

1/2 cup port

6 slices of country bread, about 1 inch thick, toasted

2 cups Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated

[Serves 6]

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over a medium flame. Add the onions and, stirring frequently to prevent burning, saute until they reach a golden color, approximately 30 minutes. Add the butter, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the white wine, bring to a boil, and reduce the wine by half, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the Chicken Stock and simmer for 45 minutes.

Preheat the broiler.

Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf, and swirl the port into the finished soup. Ladle the soup into 6 ovenproof bowls. Fit the toasted bread into the bowls on top of the liquid, and sprinkle 1/3 cup of Gruyere onto each slice. Place under the broiler for 3 minutes, or until the cheese melts to a crispy golden brown. Allow the soup to cool slightly, about 3 minutes, before serving.

10 thoughts on “AGTV: Stock & Soup”

  1. Sounds good. I’ve always heard that using beef stock was the American way of making F.O.S. In France, I am told, they would only use chicken (or veal) stock, and rely on the proper caramelization of the onions for the rich, deep, dark color and intense flavor.

    And of course, most places (chain restaurants, lower-end restaurants) that make “fake” F.O.S take beef bouillon, slice up some onions, and call it a day. Shame.


  2. I adore French onion soup but I always, but literally always, get burn on it ’cause I can never wait to cool before I start to eat. It’s very dangerous soup for me, but I love it…


  3. You’re adorable and the soup looks great.

    But, kiddo, you got to watch the camera swinging all over the place. I’m recovering from vertigo and I thought I was going to lose it!

  4. Sounds great… has anyone tried this (or similar) with vegetable stock? Is there anything else you’d change if you were making this substitution? FOS was my favorite soup before I went vegetarian. :)

  5. Huh.. Chicken stock for FOS? Interesting! I always assumed that it was beef stock that was supposed to be used. It looks yummy though. I hope of all the hours you worked on that stock and soup that it was worth it! It looks like it to me :)

  6. I’ve had the onion soup at Balthazar. It is FANTASTIC! I’ve not made it at home, but it should be great. My son was a waiter at Balthazar for a time, so I have a bias.

  7. AG, you sure had a lot of time on your hands. And I love Karen! BTW, I think you might need a soup bowl with a smaller rim when you make French onion soup to help make a better topping with the crust. I use those footed turines that are great:

    And I agree with some other posters, beef or veal stock makes the soup a bit fuller in flavor, IMHO. Have fun making recipes with the rest of your 6 quarts of stock! :)

  8. Silly me for not even realizing French Onion Soup had a meat (chicken or beef)-based stock at all! I love the stuff – especially the bread and cheese on top. Mmmm….

    P.S. Sorry to pounce on you for not having your video up on Wednesday, heh, I’ll learn to be more patient one of these days, I swear.

  9. You inspired me! (or Karen Carpenter did) After watching your video, I took all the bags of frozen chicken wings, backs, etc. out of my freezer and made a stock yesterday. I had it on low for 2 hours then had to turn it off and left for 5 hours then started it again. Do you think that’s safe?? Anyhow what are we making next?? I read your blog every day!!

  10. Tom Colicchio (in Think Like a Chef) recommends boiling the water around the chicken carcasses for 2 minutes and then dumping it all out. Then refill the stock pot with water, bring it to a boil again, and go for the 2-3 hours that it takes to get the flavor out of the bones. This melts and discards most of the fat and means no skimming the stock afterwards! It works great. Of course for the uber-environmentalist it means having your burner on high for an extra 20 minutes.

    Love the videos, though this one was a bit too jumpy, and I’m left with an unanswered question as I was looking for the wine bottle label to see what you use for cooking. I tend to use vermouth when the recipe calls for white wine – it has a bit more flavor (recommendation from Cooks Illustrated, if I remember correctly).

    Thanks, and keep it up!

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