Today’s snow day co-insides with 5-Ingredient-Friday and by luck I have all (!) the ingredients needed for Beefy French Onion Soup. But I don’t feel like hovering over caramelizing onions all morning, so the slow cooker will be relied upon to turn the kitchen into a cocoon of tantalizing aromas in no time.
If your family members view soup as an unnecessary appetizer, to be avoided at all costs unless it includes some kind of animal (as do I), this meaty concoction will please them. Edible bread bowls are a filling addition, guaranteeing that they won’t be prowling through the cupboards within an hour.
I have experimented with different dough, and find that Market Basket’s pizza dough is superior to all, including my bread machine dough. You’ll need 2 packages to make 4 bowls.
Onions are always a bargain, and coupons for beef broth/stock have been available lately. If you don‘t clip, there are two exceptional alternatives to bouillon cubes that are well-worth trying: Orrington Farms soup base and Better Than Bouillon base. Both come in beef and chicken, and fish is available in some stores. They are far less salty than cubes and don’t deliver that unpleasant chemical taste.
For the beefy part, I used 1 lb. of thinly sliced top round steak I bought which was marked down from $3.49 lb to $2.17. Then all you need is good melting cheese, and I recommend splurging on some Gouda or Swiss. Manchester-area Market Baskets have Cabot Swiss @ 2 (8 oz.)/$4 (or $4.00 per lb.), but check the reduced deli case: I got a huge chunk of beautiful Swiss for $1.92 lb.
So plug in that crock pot, bake some bread bowls, read a good book and enjoy a snow day.
BEEFY FRENCH ONION SOUP/ EDIBLE BREAD BOWLS
Serves 4 (less than $3 per serving)
1 lb. thinly sliced chuck, round or sirloin
4-6 thinly sliced medium onions
32 oz. beef stock
Pantry seasonings: bay leaves, salt and pepper, garlic powder, thyme
2-3 tblsp. A1 sauce (optional, depending on how flavorful your stock is)
4 Bread bowls
Grated cheese, about 2 cups.
Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and set for 8-10 hours.
2 packages prepared pizza dough
Egg white mixed with 1 tblsp. water
Lightly spray cookie sheet. Dust with corn meal. Form dough into 4 rounds, about 4” diameter. Place on sheet. Let rise in warm place at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Brush dough with ½ of egg white mixture. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with remaining mixture. Return to oven for 8-10 more minutes, until shiny and deeply golden brown.
Before serving, remove top quarter of bread bowl. Cut around insides, leaving ¾” of crust all around, including bottom. Remove bread (save for breadcrumbs).
TIP: Bread bowls are great for chowders, stews and chili, but if you’re making a broth-y soup, they will benefit from sitting out for several few hours and getting a day-old consistency.
Place a small amount of grated cheese in bottom of bread bowl. Ladle soup in. Top with remaining cheese. If desired, broil briefly to melt and brown cheese. Serve immediately.