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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: French

French Carrot Salad

Marc J. Sievers

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Carrot salad is something that can almost be considered a type of ‘street food’ in Paris. You often see it pre-packaged in many of the markets and it is a refreshing change from the typical (and sometimes boring) salads that we reach for during the summer. What I love about my version of French Carrot Salad is that it is simple and full of farmstand-fresh flavor, due to the crisp, grated carrots, flat-leaf Italian parsley and the creamy, luxe vinaigrette that brings it all together.

Don’t skip the step of shredding carrots yourself.  I like to use top carrots (carrots that still have the greens attached) because these tend to be the freshest available in the grocery store and have the best flavor.  While it may be appealing to save a few extra minutes and use pre-shredded carrots, who knows how long they have been in that bag!  Also, if you are at the farmer’s market or your grocery store and you happen to see tri-color carrots, those would be absolutely gorgeous to use for this salad. Perfect to bring along for a picnic!

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Ingredients (serves 6)

Salad

  • Carrots – 1 pound, peeled and finely shredded

  • Parsley – 1 cup of whole leaves, Italian flat-leaf variety

  • Chives – ⅓ cup, finely minced

Vinaigrette

  • Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons

  • Honey – 1 teaspoon

  • Dijon Mustard – 1 ½ teaspoons

  • Crème Fraiche – 1 tablespoon

  • Lemon Juice – 2 tablespoons, freshly squeezed

  • Fleur de Sel – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

Directions

Salad

  1. In a large bowl add the carrots, whole parsley leaves and chives.  Set aside.

Vinaigrette & Assembly

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously for about 60 seconds.

  2. Pour the vinaigrette over the carrot mixture and toss. 

  3. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl or platter, garnish with more salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.

Tip: You can make the vinaigrette up to 3 days in advance and store in it the refrigerator in same jar you made it in.

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Parmesan & Arugula Tartine

Marc J. Sievers

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There are few dishes more iconically French than the tartine. Think of a tartine as the chic, Parisian older sister of the open-faced sandwich. Simple and easy to make, tartines are a delicious combination of a few really good ingredients. My Parmesan & Arugula Tartine starts with a good crusty country bread that can be found in any bakery or grocery store. Start by toasting a thin slice of bread in a toaster until it is crisp and golden. Let it cool for a minute then schmear a little of my Vert Vinaigrette on top, add shavings of spicy Parmigiano-Reggiano, a few leaves of crisp arugula and finish with some fleur de sel and black pepper, et voilà! I like to serve this as chic little lunch or cut into pieces for an hors d’oeuvre (both with a glass of white wine!). However you serve this, make sure it is often!

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Eclectic Parisian Table Setting

Marc J. Sievers

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Regardless of where I am entertaining, whether at my home in Chicago, or while I am traveling, a beautiful table is always where I begin. When I was in Paris working on my new book, I invited some friends over and decided to set a table that was a little different than what I would normally do at home: something more eclectic and colorful that would be the perfect backdrop to a lively and fun evening! I began to build this table setting with some gorgeous pink hydrangeas (my favorite flower!) that I found at the market. Hydrangeas do not have a scent and I paired them with white unscented candles, so as to not have anything competing with the smell of the delicious food on the table!

When it comes to layering the table, now is the time to bring out some of those amazing and interesting pieces you have collected over the years but haven’t had a chance to use yet. The more colorful, the better! Instead of worrying about everything matching, think about a single color that you want to showcase, like I have done here with pink- the color is highlighted not only in the flowers, but on the placemats and on the small plates I have used in the setting. The only rule here is to have fun with the process and show off your favorite pieces!

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Assembled Parisian Dessert

Marc J. Sievers

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Fabulous desserts do not always have to involve a long list of ingredients or an even longer list of steps to create. My Assembled Parisian Dessert comes together quickly, without sacrificing an ounce of what we love when we just want something delicious and sweet! It’s also a great way to show off any beautiful platters that you wish you used more often! The star of this recipe is fromage blanc, a soft creamy cheese from France.  It is low fat but still has a luxurious texture and delicate flavor, making it a perfect pairing for fresh strawberries and butter cookies. It is also fun to experiment with the fromage blanc; you can add fresh herbs for the summer or add cinnamon for a bit of warmth in the fall. It is an incredibly versatile French cheese and I know that once you give it a try, it will become a staple in your kitchen!

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Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Fromage Blanc - 8 ounces, at room temperature

  • Honey – 3 tablespoons

  • Fleur de Sel – ¼ teaspoon

  • Dark Chocolate - 2 ounces, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish, 72% Cacao recommended

  • Butter Cookies, for serving

  • Fresh Strawberries, for serving

  • Mint, for garnish 

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the fromage blanc, honey, Fleur de Sel and dark chocolate. 

  2. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle the top with more chopped chocolate and place it on a serving platter.  Serve with butter cookies, strawberries or even pound cake.  Garnish the platter with fresh mint.  Serve at room temperature.

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Fines Herbes French Omelette

Marc J. Sievers

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One of my favorite dishes to make is a classic French omelette.  In fact, it has become my house meal, what I always serve to guests the first time they visit my home.  French omelettes are easy and really fabulous when they are made with just a handful of fresh ingredients.  My Fines Herbes French Omelette lets the fresh herbs shine while tucked inside a beautifully folded simple French omelette.  It’s the perfect quick weekday meal and a great way to make use of leftover herbs.  Don’t let the technique scare you!  Getting the fold just right does take some practice, but if you take your time (and remember it’s all in the wrist!), you will be whipping up these omelettes in no time.  And I really do mean ‘no time’.  This omelette only takes 30 seconds to cook!  Who doesn’t love a 30-second meal?

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Ingredients (makes 1 omelette, multiply recipe as needed)

  • Eggs –  2, extra-large, at room temperature

  • Sea  Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Dill  – ¾ teaspoon, finely minced

  • Tarragon - ¾ teaspoon, finely minced

  • Chives - ¾ teaspoon, finely minced

  • Parsley – ¾ teaspoon, finely minced, Italian flat leaf variety

  • Butter  – 1 tablespoon, unsalted

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, beat the eggs, salt, pepper and fresh herbs until the yolks and whites are fully incorporated.

  2. Place a 10-inch non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat.   Allow the pan to get very hot, but not smoking.

  3. Add the butter and swirl it around to evenly coat the bottom and sides of the pan.  Once the butter is completely melted, the foam has subsided, pour the eggs into the center of the butter.

  4. Allow the eggs to sit for just a few seconds before you begin swirling the pan over the heat.

  5. Continue the swirling motion for roughly 20 to 25 seconds.  Once the eggs begin to set and there is just a little bit of wetness in the center, jerk the pan several times back and forth in order to fold the eggs onto itself.  The finished omelette will end up in the far lip of the pan.

  6. Grasp the handle of the pan from underneath and rest the far lip of the pan  (where the omelette has formed) slightly off-center onto the bottom of a dinner plate.

  7. Gently turn the pan upside down over the plate.  The omelette will then drop into position.

  8. Garnish with more salt, pepper and fresh herbs and serve.

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Simple French Omelette

Marc J. Sievers

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Any French bistro worth its Fleur de Sel has a classic omelette on the menu, ready to be served at any time of the day or evening.  A delicious canvas for all kinds of savory toppings, the French omelette is a simple and elegant option for breakfast during the week, for lunch, brunch, dinner, or a late-night kitchen rendezvous (with a glass of champagne!). 

No need to make a special grocery run, as even the most spare of kitchens is sure to have a couple of eggs and a few basic seasonings on hand to whip up this quick and easy meal.  Don’t be nervous about presentation!  With a little practice (and a few flicks of the wrist), you will be a pro in no time.  Et Voilà, my Simple French Omelette!

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Simple French Omelette

Ingredients (makes 1 omelette, multiply recipe as needed) 

  • Eggs – 2, extra-large, at room temperature

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Butter – 1 tablespoon, unsalted

  • Chives – 1 tablespoon, finely minced, for garnish

Directions 

  1. In a small bowl, beat the eggs, salt, and pepper until the yolks and whites are fully incorporated.

  2. Place a 10-inch non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Allow the pan to get very hot, but not smoking.

  3. Add the butter and swirl it around to evenly coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Once the butter is completely melted, the foam has subsided, pour the eggs into the center of the butter.

  4. Allow the eggs to sit for just a few seconds before you begin swirling the pan over the heat.

  5. Continue the swirling motion for roughly 20 to 25 seconds. Once the eggs begin to set and there is just a little bit of wetness in the center, jerk the pan several times back and forth in order to fold the eggs onto itself. The finished omelette will end up in the far lip of the pan.

  6. Grasp the handle of the pan from underneath and rest the far lip of the pan (where the omelette has formed) slightly off-center onto the bottom of a dinner plate.

  7. Gently turn the pan upside down over the plate. The omelette will then drop into position.

  8. Garnish with fresh chives and serve.

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Al Fresco Entertaining

Marc J. Sievers

Hosting an al fresco soirée is one of my favorite things to do when the weather is just too beautiful to stay indoors.  For this years Le Dîner en Blanc Chicago I partnered with Caspari to create the ultimate, portable tablescape perfect for an all-white dinner outside!  Below I have included detailed images, my WGN News segment, and shoppable links (all from behind the scenes!) so you can easily recreate my tablescape for yourself at home or on-location!

Watch: WGN News Segment featuring Caspari and Le Dîner en Blanc 


Store-Bought Food

Baguette
Olives
Cashews
S&P Potato Chips
Peppadews
Rosé
Champagne
Sparkling Water



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Watch: Stuffed Croissants with Spinach

Marc J. Sievers

I am just so excited to share with you the first webisdoe of my newest series on YouTube of From My Kitchen To Yours: Table for Two edition!  When I started planning out recipes I wanted to film from my new cookbook, I really wanted to show you how truly easy and elegant my idea of cooking and entertaining for you and your +1 can be.  To launch the new series, I knew my Stuffed Croissants with Spinach would be the perfect recipe!  Not only can you serve these as part of a breakfast or brunch, they are also fabulous with a salad for lunch, or even as a first course for dinner.  Not to mention, the "filling" doubles as a creamy and luxurious spinach dip!

Series 5, Episode 1: Stuffed Croissants with Spinach


Stuffed Croissants with Spinach

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • Plain Croissants – 2, store-bought

  • Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon

  • Butter – 1 tablespoon, unsalted

  • Shallot – 1 small, finely minced

  • Garlic – 1 clove, finely minced

  • Spinach – 1 bag (5 ounces), rough-chopped, reserve 2 whole leaves for garnish

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¼ teaspoon, freshly grated

  • Gruyère Cheese – 4 tablespoons, freshly grated, divided

  • Mascarpone – 2 tablespoons

  • Parmesan Cheese – 2 tablespoons, freshly grated (Parmigiano-Reggiano recommended)

  • Egg Wash – 1 extra-large egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of water

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Slice each croissant horizontally along the outside curve, but not cutting all the way through—you want to make a “pocket” for the filling to nestle into. Set aside.

  3. In a 10-inch sauté pan set over medium-low heat, add the olive oil and butter. Once hot, add the shallots. Cook for 2 minutes just until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another 30 seconds, being careful not to burn the garlic.

  4. Next, add the chopped spinach, salt, and pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the spinach is wilted and tender.

  5. With a spatula, transfer the hot spinach to a small bowl and add the parmesan, mascarpone, and 2 tablespoons of Gruyère. Stir until the mascarpone is melted.

  6. Next, spoon the mixture evenly into the “pocket” created in each croissant.

  7. Brush the outside of each croissant with egg wash, place a spinach leaf on top of each croissant and brush again with the egg wash. Then, evenly sprinkle each croissant with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Gruyère.

  8. Place onto the prepared sheet pan and bake for 7-9 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the spinach leaf is crisp. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Idea:  This recipe can also be served as a hot spinach dip!  Instead of stuffing the spinach mixture into a croissant, put it in a heat-proof serving bowl alongside a selection of pita chips, tortilla chips, black pepper crackers, or even crisp carrot sticks.

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Apple & Herb Wellington

Marc J. Sievers

When I began testing this recipe for my new cookbook Table for Two: Cooking and Entertaining for You and Your +1, the combinations of ingredients seemed endless (and they really are!).  I finally settled on a selection of fresh herbs, apple, fragrant fennel and onions.  To give it even more “body”, I added Gruyère cheese that I diced into very small cubes.  This prevented the filling from getting too heavy with melted cheese, and instead created pockets of gently melted Gruyère that added the right amount of richness to the finished dish.  Keep in mind, this recipe does make two larger portions, so I like to serve it alongside a salad dressed in my French Bistro Vinaigrette

What I love most about this recipe is that you can interchange the fresh herbs and filling and have it adapt to be season specific.  During the fall and winter, I like to use fresh sage and rosemary (a perfect vegetarian main course for the holidays!), and replace the parsnip with butternut squash.  In the spring and summer, I love using basil and chives, and replace the apple with zucchini.

Like this recipe, so many other recipes from Table for Two are adaptable to help make entertaining as easy, elegant, and as truly delicious as possible, for you and your plus one!


Apple & Herb Wellington

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons

  • Fennel – ¾ cup, ½-inch diced

  • Yellow Onion – 1 medium, ½-inch diced

  • Parsnip – 1 medium, peeled, ½-inch diced

  • Pink Lady Apple – 1 medium, ½-inch diced

  • Thyme – 2 teaspoons, finely minced, fresh

  • Sea Salt – ¾ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¾ teaspoon

  • Garlic – 2 cloves, finely minced

  • Parsley – 3 tablespoons, finely minced, Italian flat-leaf variety recommended

  • Whole Cashews – ⅓ cup, rough chopped

  • Golden Raisins - ⅓ cup

  • Parmesan Cheese – 2 tablespoons, freshly grated, Parmigiano-Reggiano recommended

  • Gruyère Cheese – 3 ounces, ¼-inch cubed

  • Frozen Puff Pastry – 1 sheet, thawed overnight in the refrigerator

  • *Egg Wash – 1 extra-large egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of water

Directions

1.     Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.  Set aside.

2.     In a medium sauté pan set over medium heat, add the olive oil.  Once hot, add the fennel, onion, parsnip, apples, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very tender, but not brown.

3.     Add the garlic and parsley and continue cooking for another 1 minute, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Transfer to a medium bowl to cool for 5 minutes.  Once cooled, stir in the cashews, raisins, and both cheeses.

4.     Next, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the thawed puff pastry dough to be roughly 12x14-inches.  Cut the dough in half creating 2 pieces measuring 12x7-inces.

5.     Divide the filling evenly onto half of each piece of dough, leaving a ½-inch border.  Brush the border with egg wash*, and fold over top the other half of each side of the dough.  Using the tines of a fork, seal the edges by of the dough by pressing the tines lightly into the dough.  Do this on all three sides or each packet.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

6.     Brush the tops with egg wash*.  Using a small knife, cut three slits on the top of each packet.

7.     Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown.

8.     Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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Eggs Provençal

Marc J. Sievers

There is something so incredibly chic about enjoying a breakfast or brunch dish at dinner time—especially when having company over!  It takes people by surprise and with a sense of delight, transforming “just another dinner party” into a relaxed occasion.  With the menu change there’s usually a palpable mood-change—guests let their guard down and the dinner party goes from regular, to memorable.  The power of food always amazes me.

My Eggs Provençal is just the dish to change up your dinner party dynamic.  It is a flavorful combination of eggs, cream, cheese, and lots of fresh herbs.  I love to serve it with an arugula salad tossed in my French Bistro Vinaigrette, Roasted Savory Carrots, a crusty store-bought Baguette, and a dry Champagne or Rosé.

To enhance the chic-factor, I set my table with simple white plates, flatware, and linen napkins, scatter plenty of scentless white votive candles around the table, and use simple juice glasses filled with red or orange roses to add some drama!  Best of all, this elegant dinner comes together in well under an hour.  Happy cooking!


Eggs Provençal

Ingredients (serve 6)

  • Eggs – 12 extra-large

  • Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons

  • Yellow Onion – 1 medium, ¼-inch diced

  • Kosher Salt – 2 teaspoons, divided

  • Black Pepper – 3 teaspoons, divided

  • Garlic – 6 cloves, finely minced

  • Butter – 2 tablespoons, unsalted

  • Mozzarella Cheese– 1 cup, shredded

  • Rosemary – 2 tablespoons, fresh, finely minced

  • Thyme – 3 tablespoons, fresh, finely minced

  • Arugula – 3 cups, pre-washed

  • Parmesan Cheese – freshly grated, for garnish, Parmigiano-Reggiano recommended

Directions

  1. In a large bowl crack the eggs and whisk vigorously until the whites and yolks are completely incorporated and the mixture is a pale yellow. Set aside.

  2. In a large sauté pan set over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Once hot add onions and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of cracked black pepper. Sauté for 7 to 9 minutes or until translucent and slightly tender. Next, add the garlic and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the butter to the center of the pan and melt.

  3. Next, add the shredded mozzarella to the egg mixture, then add the rosemary, thyme, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper. Whisk vigorously to thoroughly mix and immediately pour into the center of the sauté pan.

  4. Gently stir the eggs, constantly scraping the bottom and sides of the pan with a spatula. The mixture will slowly come together and begin to thicken. Remove from the heat after about 8 minutes, when the eggs are wet-looking and gooey, but no longer runny. Continue to gently stir off the heat for another minute.

  5. Next, transfer the eggs to the center of a serving platter. Garnish with arugula and big shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

  6. Serve immediately.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

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A Creative Approach to Everyday Tablescapes

Marc J. Sievers

Designing tablescapes is something I have been doing for clients for years.  The word “tablescape” sometimes scares people as it conjures images of towering floral arrangements, polished gleaming silver, and layers of fine China.  While that specific image is certainly an option—glorious in its own right—the word tablescape also can refer to everyday tabletop design that have well thought out concepts and choices to help accentuate your personal style, décor, and theme of your soirée, while also showcasing your everyday dishes, glassware, flatware, linens, and other casual pieces you may have.

This May, in celebration for Mother’s Day, I was asked by WGN Chicago to showcase a Mother’s Day brunch extravaganza!  Since Spring is in full swing (most of the days!), I wanted to create a colorful table filled with flowers, texture, thoughtful touches, and an easy and elegant main dish, my Eggs Provençal from my cookbook Entertaining with Love.  In addition to shopping for the ingredients I needed to prepare brunch, I also relied on my local Trader Joe’s for the best overnight croissants (they are available in plain, almond, or chocolate!), another favorite local grocer for an edible and over-the-top gift basket, and stunning flowers, all budget-friendly!

While this tablescape, menu, and basket were each created on the theme of Mother’s Day, they would be equally as fabulous and impressive for a birthday celebration, dinner party, weeknight dinner, or any other celebration with which you want to make a statement—easily using everyday ingredients that are readily available at your local grocery store!  Have fun entertaining!

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

 

Watch the clip below to get a video tour.

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French Bistro Vinaigrette

Marc J. Sievers

Every time I am in Paris, I am mesmerized at how simple and delicious the classic bistro food is!  The menus are long and extensive, but each and every dish seems to be accompanied by a petite salad dressed in a light and creamy vinaigrette – the iconic creamy mustard vinaigrette.  There are thousands of cookbooks and online recipes with different versions on this classic vinaigrette with alternating ingredients and measurements.  And truth be told, some of the ones I tried are really very good, just not what I remember from my Parisian experiences. 

So I set off on my vinaigrette journey armed with an obscene amount of oils, jars of different mustards, whisks, and measuring cups.  Batches and batches later I finally figured out a few small but important tricks to recreate this iconic dressing at home in Chicago; Crème Fraiche, a garlic press, and a combination of both olive oil & vegetable oil.  Adding Crème Fraiche gave it more of a creaminess and tang, that when I left it out, it was noticeable in both texture and flavor.  Instead on mincing the garlic and having the vinaigrette have small pieces in it, using the garlic press turned the garlic into almost a paste which incorporated into the dressing better.  Finally, adding both the olive oil and vegetable oil was, I my opinion, the biggest key to my French Bistro Vinaigrette.  Using all olive oil was too heavy in taste, and using all vegetable oil didn’t add any flavor.  Using both was the perfect combination!

Making my French Bistro Vinaigrette doesn’t take more than 5 minutes and is the perfect accompaniment on a variety of salads, even ones with roasted vegetables and fruit.  It is also quite lovely to decorate a cheese plate with – the mustard really comes through the dressing and amps up the flavors of certain cheeses, like Gruyere.  It is also fabulous to serve alongside a crudité platter.  Salad greens, vegetables, cheeses, and fruits are about to become even more exciting!

Watch my webisode on French Bistro Vinaigrette


French Bistro Vinaigrette 

Ingredients (make 1 ¼ cups)

  • Egg Yolks – 1 extra-large, at room temperature

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Champagne Vinegar – 2 tablespoons

  • Crème Fraiche – 1 tablespoon

  • Dijon Mustard – 2 teaspoons

  • Garlic – 1 clove, crushed using a garlic press

  • Vegetable Oil – 7 tablespoons

  • Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon

Directions

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously for about 60 seconds.

  2. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before dressing a salad.

Tip: This is by far my most favorite vinaigrette and one that I keep constantly on hand.  It can be prepared up to 7 days in advance and stored in an air tight container.  Just remember to make sure you are using both fresh egg yolks and crème fraiche in order for it to maintain its shelf life.  

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

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Luxurious Onion Sipping Broth

Marc J. Sievers

Last year, while Ryan and I were in Paris, we went to an absolutely fabulous and charming Basque restaurant called Beaurepaire.  We went with friends on our last night there.  The restaurant itself was a cozy little place very near to Notre-Dame, on the Left Bank situated at a quaint little cobblestone square along rue de la Bûcherie (one of the oldest streets in Paris).

A friend we were traveling with had suggested the restaurant after she visited it before on a prior trip.  The cuisine is of Northern Basque Country, which is actually in southern France, but is a region of blending cultures where the northern border of Spain and the southern border of France have melded over the centuries.  It is a rustic and earthy cuisine with all of the advantages and refinements brought out in a Parisian restaurant.

We sat at a country-style table and perused the menu, full of surprises, questions, and delights.  I noticed that they had an onion soup available and learned from the waitress that it was, in fact, vegetarian!  She was surprised that I was surprised and further explained that it was made with onions, water, cream, butter, and a little bit of salt and pepper.  C’est tout.

Because my French is non-existent, I asked her again just to make sure we both understood.  She replied emphatically in English, “Absolutely not!  Why would we ever use broth in our onion soup?”  Being a vegetarian, I hardly ever get to enjoy soup at most restaurants as it’s invariably made with some sort of beef or chicken broth (out of laziness, according to our hostess that evening). So, as my first course I elected the Northern Basque-inspired onion soup.

When it arrived I knew I was in for a treat.  The soup was light, rich, and very thin—it rather resembled a sipping broth—and had an aroma I can only describe as deliciously honest.  I knew exactly what was in it.  It was garnished with a few dashes of hot paprika, bit of fresh green herbs, and two pieces of baguette bread lightly toasted with delicious Gruyère cheese melted on top.  After my first sip I literally exclaimed it was the best soup I had ever had in my life.  It was a beautiful savory broth that was lightly flavored with onions and made perfectly luxurious with cream.  It was so incredible that I asked if I could cancel my main course and have an even bigger bowl instead, and of course with more bread!  She happily obliged. 

For almost a year I have talked about the Beaurepaire onion broth, telling anyone who will listen to me about the world’s greatest soup, just how absolutely fantastic it was, and how I was eager to get into the kitchen and try my hand at this delicious savory onion broth.  After a few rounds of testing, especially during the properly chilly winter weather we have been having in Chicago, I finally came up with my version:  Luxurious Onion Sipping Broth.

This is a very thin, but warmly rich, broth that is perfect for sipping at the beginning of a meal, enjoyed on a cold afternoon to warm up after a day of being outside (Après-ski, anyone?!), and especially when you are feeling a bit under the weather—it instantly warms your toes and makes you feel cozy.  I have found that the best serving size is between 5 to 6 ounces.  The flavors are light, well-rounded, and subtle.  Just as the Beaurepaire chef did, I finish my Luxurious Onion Sipping Broth with a dash of hot paprika and some finely minced flat leaf parsley.

You can serve this either in a teacup or mug so it can be sipped slowly and savored (the teacup adds a bit of fun when serving!).  In fact, as I’m writing, I am watching the snow fall on a fabulous and tranquil afternoon and I have a little cup right next to me to help stay warm!

Happy cooking!


Luxurious Onion Sipping Broth

 

Ingredients (makes about 7 cups)

  • Yellow Onions – 10 cups, sliced ¼-inch thick

  • Butter – 4 tablespoons, unsalted

  • Garlic – 5 cloves, thinly sliced

  • Sea Salt – 1 ¼ teaspoon

  • White Pepper – ¾ teaspoon

  • Water – 10 cups

  • Heavy Cream – ¾ cup

  • Hot Paprika – for garnish, optional

  • Flat Leaf Parsley – finely minced, for garnish, optional

Directions

  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot set over medium heat, add the butter. Once hot, add the onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for 10-12 minutes until translucent and tender, stirring occasionally.

  2. Next, add the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes. Then, remove from the heat.

  3. Using a slotted spoon and working in small batches, remove all of the onion and garlic pieces and place them into a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl. Using the back of a wooden spoon, gently press to expel as much liquid as possible. Once all of the onions have been processed, return all of the liquid back into the pan.

  4. Stir in the heavy cream and gently reheat over low heat.

  5. Check for seasoning, and serve. Garnish with a few dashes of hot paprika and a little fresh parsley, if desired.

Tip: This broth can be stored for up to 4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.  Gently reheat over a low heat before serving.

Idea: Since this is really more of a sipping broth it is really meant to either start a meal, or be served as a goûter (afternoon snack) to help warm you up on a chilly afternoon or evening.  Of course, just the broth alone is a fabulous light lunch or dinner with a big green salad, baguette, and some cheeses—très chic!  It is equally as flavorful with or without the addition of garnishes. 

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