Alex Cummins and Brady Felth make onion soup

When we took the first bite of the original onion soup, our favorite part was: the beef flavor from the broth, the cheesiness and crunchiness of the crouton, and finally the crouton being soaked with all the flavors of the onion soup. When choosing a final dish to make, we wanted to be able to replicate the original flavors that we loved in the original onion soup. We chose to go with a french onion poutine because the onion rings could replace the crispiness of the croutons, the cheese cards could replace the cheesiness of the original dish, and the base soup could be turned into a gravy. What made this dish so successful is the individual components all coming together to make a great balance in flavor and texture.

All of the ideas we had for this project started here. Our first task was to figure out what was essential to onion soup and make sure that all of our creations still had those key building blocks. We decided that the onion flavor, the beef flavor and the melted cheese were the most important part of onion soup and if we had all of those elements we would make a good product. Some of our ideas included: onion sandwich, poutine, beef stroganoff, raw onion gazpacho, onion ice cream, french onion dip, cheese soup, paninnis, sausage dish and a french onion aoili. We decided that we wanted to make an onion soup sandwich, a paninni, a soup bread bowl and poutine.

The first cokking we did was make the original recipe from the cookbook How to Cook Everything.

We caramalized the onions, added beef stock, parsley, thyme and a bay leaf.

After the soup was done we put some ciabata toast in the bottom of a mug, added the soup and melted some swiss cheese on top.

The final product was warm, comforting and delicious.

The next 3 trial all involved a variation on the soup as once component. The goal was to make a sauce/gravy that was the essence of onion soup. We added the sauce to all of our other trials. For the first day we used beef bouillon, but to get more flavor we will use beef stock from now on.

To start the sauce we made a roux, added the completed soup, let it thicken and then threw it all into a blender.

The final sauce was thick and rich.

For our first trial we experimented with making a sandwich. The sandwich had roast beef, fried onions, parmesan cheese and swiss cheese. We put it in the toaster oven to melt the cheese and toast the bun. The soup sauce was served as a dipping sauce. The reason we wanted to make a sandwich was because we thought the flavor of deli roast beef would pair nicely with the beef broth flavor in the soup. Although the sandwich was tasty, we felt like the onion wasn’t the star of the dish. We also experimented with preparing the sandwich in a different way. We made a panini instead of a slider, and the result was similar.The panini was a much better delivery system for the sauce, but the onion still wasn’t the star.

Our next trial was soup in a bread bowl. The soup sauce was poured into a cheesy garlic bread bowl. Our inspiration for this iteration was to highlight the crouton from the original recipe. We decided to combine the soup with another popular appetizer; garlic bread. We carved out a bread roll and rubbed it in garlic and then topped it off with parmesan cheese. Although it was tasty, we thought it was lacking in creativity because it was just soup in a bread bowl.

Some more cheese was added to the top of the final product. This was very good, but also very hard to eat.

For our final trial we made an onion soup poutine. First we made onion rings for the base.

Next we melted some swiss on the top of the onion rings. In the future we might use a mix that also includes cheddar cheese curds and parmesan.

The final product was messy and soggy but it was good. Crispy onion rings would make it a lot better. We liked this dish the most because it included all the elements from the original dish; but it also was novel to us.The poutine was the idea we decided to pursue.

On the first day in class we made the poutine. We made the gravy the same way we did the first time we made the poutine. Once it was done we put it in the blender on high for a few minutes. The final gravy was full of onion flavor, but a few more minutes in the blender would have been a good idea. The beef stock made a huge difference and the suace had a well rounded flavor.

We also worked to refine the onion rings. In an attempt to make the onion rings crispier to stand up to the sauce we breaded each ring in breadcrumbs before we fried. Our oil was a bit too hot so the onion rings had a very bitter flavor, which messed up the flavor of the dish overall at the end. The breadcrumbs seemed to turn very dark very quickly. The rings with the breadcrumbs were very crispy, which was a plus.

This is the dredging setup for the onion rings.

We got together one more time to further refine the onion rings. We tried yet another recipe but only had minimal sucess getting a crispier onion ring. This new method involved a long period of time on a wire rack before frying. The excess batter dripped off and that made for an onion ring that was very delicate, but crispy. This is the method we used for our final dish.

Varaitions on onion ring coating

Final critique

Our final dish was served in the typical paper plate from the state fair. The onion rings did not hold up very well to all of the sauce and cheese, but overall it was a success. After putting the gravy in the blender for a very long time it became extremely smooth and soft. The torch worked perfectly to melt the cheese.

Recipe for final product:

6 onions, 1 tbsp. butter, 3c beef stock, 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp. pepper, Parsley, 1 tsp. thyme, Salt to taste, 3tbsp butter, 3 tbsp. flour, 1/4 c shredded swiss cheese, 1/8 c, shredded, gruyere , Pinch of grated parmesan, 1/8 c cheese curds, 1 c flour, 1tsp, baking powder, 1 egg, 2/3 c milk, 1 gallon oil

Caramelize 4 sliced onions with butter. Add the beef stock and spices. Simmer for 15 min. Make roux with butter and flour and stir until roux begins to brown. Add soup mix to roux. Stir and let thicken. Blend in blender for 5 min.

Dredge rings of onion in flour and baking soda. Set on wire rack. Combine milk, egg, salt and pepper with the flour dredge. Cover rings in batter and set on rack. Fry until golden brown, about 4 min.

Add cheese to onion rings and melt cheese on top. Add gravy and serve.