The Literate Chef

Posts Tagged ‘Amontillado Sherry’

French Onion Soup

In Recipes, Soups on October 10, 2013 at 9:03 AM

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

(Serves 2 or 3 – Active preparation time about 1 hour)

We found these great oven-proof soup bowls with handles at  Williams-Sonoma a while back, and they have been sitting fallow in our cabinet ever since. But yesterday, with the weather turning to full Autumn here on Cape Cod, the bowls cried out to be used. Since they resemble those soup bowls one would see in un petit bistrot somewhere on La Rive Gauche, what better soup to christen them with than a hearty Soupe à l’Oignon.

Betty whipped this up last night for a light supper, and with the lights turned down low, a candle on the dinner table, and Edith Piaf warbling in the background on the stereo, we enjoyed a 30 minute flight of fantasy to The City of Light.


1/4 lb. unsalted butter
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 slices French bread, about 1″ thick
4 large onions, sliced thin
4 sprigs of thyme
4 tbsp. flour
3/4 cup of sherry (Amontillado)
6 cups of College Inn, Fat-Free, Low-Sodium Beef Broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 lb. Gruyere, sliced thin – sufficient to cover the top of each soup bowl


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large heavy pot, on medium heat, sauté the garlic in 4 tbsp of the butter.
3. Brush bread slices on both sides with the garlic butter mixture.
4. On a cookie sheet, bake the garlic bread in the oven for 6 minutes on each side, remove and set aside. Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees.
5. While the garlic bread is baking, add the remaining butter to the pot and melt, add onions and thyme sprigs, cook over medium heat until onions are well caramelized.
6. Remove the thyme sprigs, sift flour over the onions, mix well and cook over low heat for 8 minutes. Add sherry and continue cooking over low heat for 5 minutes more.
7. Add beef broth, salt and paper, bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes until thickened as desired.
8. Place toasted garlic bread in soup bowls, add onion soup to the brim.
9. Cover bowls with layered Gruyere slices and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Serve immediately.


Black Bean Soup

In Recipes, Soups on December 28, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated (please see note below).   Active involvement-1 hour, cooking time 2&1/2 hours; makes about 16 servings.

Black Bean Soup


•    2 lbs. dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
•    1 ham bone
•    6 bay leaves
•    2 & ½ qts. water
•    8 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
•    4 cups of finely chopped onions, about 4 medium onions
•    2 cups finely chopped celery, about 3 stalks
•    1 cup finely chopped carrots, about 2 carrots
•    5 tbsps. minced garlic, about 1 whole head
•    3 tbsps. ground cumin
•    2 qts.  Unsalted Chicken Stock
•    6 jalapeno peppers including seeds, chopped fine
•    1 lb. Spanish Chorizos, sliced lengthwise and then at 90 degree angle, so that each slice is a ¼ inch thick half moon
•    1 cup rum


1.    Place beans, ham bone, bay leaves and water in a 5 qt. pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer on a low boil, until beans are tender about 90 minutes. If too thick, add an additional cup or two of water and continue to simmer until beans are tender. Remove ham bone and bay leaves and discard.
2.    In the meantime, heat olive oil in 8-quart stock pot over medium-high heat until shimmering; add the onions, carrots and celery, cook for 6 minutes stirring until vegetables are soft.
3.    Add the garlic and cumin and continue cooking, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.
4.    Add the beans and their liquid (after removing and discarding the ham bone and bay leaves), mix well.
5.    Add the chicken broth and jalapenos, raise the heat to medium-high and bring to boil, reduce the heat to low, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6.    Remove 3 cups of beans and 3 cups of liquid to a food processor, process until smooth then return to pot. Add the chorizos and rum bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes more.

Upon serving add a splash of Amontillado Sherry to each bowl and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and sour cream.

NOTE: Please see The Gift of Christmas Ham that Kept on Giving for a discussion of how this recipe was adapted and developed

From a Cask of Amontillado

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