Saturday, February 19, 2011

Potato Onion Casserole

I love French onion soup. My boyfriend introduced me to this delightful dish, but unlike him, I actually eat the onions. I love every ingredient, and the way it is cooked. Everything just works so well together.

Making my own version of it has been on my to-do list for a while. I've seen numerous recipes and shows on Food Network about this soup. However, I've never mustered up enough confidence to go ahead and make it. It is French after all, so it is definitely fussy.

Yesterday I was home alone.
I was also hungry.
I saw some onions.
I had an idea.

I decided to caramelize a bunch of onions, and if they turned out good, I'd go ahead and make the soup.
Confession: I've never had any success with caramelizing onions. They always end up either over-sweated, or burnt. I just couldn't get it right.

This time was no different. They were under the lid for about 20 minutes first. Then I lifted the lid to check up on them, and the steam burned my fingers. After a little bit more time, the caramelization I was waiting for didn't happen. So I had to think about what I'd do with all of these onions.

Yields: 8-10 servings. Prep time: 20 mins Cook time: ~1.5 hrs
6 medium-sized onions
2 Fresh tomatoes
1 canned tomato
1 clove of garlic
1 disk of fresh ginger
Half of an apple
2 cups of red wine
5 medium-sized potatoes
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1 egg
1 cup of bread crumbs (or panko)
1/2 cup of any cheese you like
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Cut you onions in half-rings and begin sweating them in about a tablespoon of oil on low heat under the lid.

2. After about 20-25 minutes add diced tomatoes, fresh and canned. Keep it on low heat; don't cover.

3. Dice the ginger and garlic very finely, or grate with a micropane. Add to the pan.
4. Peel and dice the potatoes. Try to keep a uniform size. Put them on the stove to boil. When they are done, drain and let cool.
5. After about 8 minutes, cut up the apple julienne-style. Add to the pan.

6. Add the wine to the pan in 7 minutes. Sprinkle in the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir and let it reduce on low heat. It'll take about 20 minutes.

7. When the onion mixture is reduced, take it off the heat, and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 350F.
8. In a casserole dish, or any baking vessel, lay down your potato cubes, covering the whole area.

Then layer in the onion mixture on top, evenly.

Whisk an egg and pour it over the onions, evening it out with a spoon. Then sprinkle the bread crumbs.

And finally add some cheese. I had mozzarella.

9. Place it in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until you see a nice crust formed. As you can see, I overdid it with bread crumbs.

Best served with some sort of protein. I ate it with a Russian-style cutlet. My mom liked it with fish.

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