Making French Onion Soup at The New Deli is almost second nature; we make it so often! We don’t think twice anymore, about deglazing the roasting pans, or saving the chicken broth after cooking chicken. Only the newest employees flinch a little when we’re taking the layer of hardened fat off after we’ve chilled a bowl of stock. And most of the help knows that the thick, gelatinous brew that remains is exactly what makes the broth so very delicious.
It might seem more “natural”, in some twisted way, to use a pre-fab, processed stock that gets poured out of a cardboard box (or can), but homemade stock does not make a true home cook nervous at all. And while we’ve had many newcomers to the New Deli kitchen express their concern that we were adding a bowl of fat to the pot of soup, eventually they discover the difference between the fat layer and the stock underneath. After all, most people may not realize that a good, homemade stock does indeed look a little like Jell-O. (That is where gelatin comes from!)
As a friend of mine taped one of our cooking sessions for YouTube, he opted to skip the step where the fat is removed from that bowl of stock. He imagined it would be appropriate to suggest that one can “cheat” a little and use a store-bought stock. I suppose he had a point—there are certain aspects of cooking from scratch that aren’t so glamorous. The sight of a grown man crying as he peels onions, clearing out the sink, removing a layer of fat…
But the whole process of making an excellent bowl of French Onion Soup really just boils down to this: In the end, a delicious soup is on the table, and our appetites are whetted. At least, for now!
For The New Deli's French Onion Soup Recipe, click here (at "jennifercote.org")