As 2016 comes to a close, there’s a lot of talk about how it’s been a bad year. Sure, there’s been quite a stir in the Indian economy, and we continue to play a part in what is perhaps the biggest financial experiment in Indian history, but let’s put that behind us for a few minutes.
I’ve decided to reflect on what’s to come instead- 2017 will hopefully be a smarter food year for us all. We will make more informed food choices and return to a slower way of cooking for our families to retain maximum nutrition. As more regional cuisines come to our notice, let’s seek out new ingredients in the market and cook with them. Interact with your sabzi vendor, your help, a not-so-close relative or a friend of a friend and ask them how they cook at home. More importantly, cook, if you don’t already. It’s shameful that a lot of peers my age still don’t know how to make simple dal-roti to sustain themselves, but will spend a whole lot of time watching 30 second food hacks on Facebook. Let 2017 be the year you change that. Our country’s food traditions are far too rich to be run-to-the-ground by a generation that doesn’t care enough.
Sweet onions when slow-cooked for up to thirty minutes slowly caramelise to a jammy consistency that’s a perfect start for French onion soup. A classic in my opinion, theres nothing better to cuddle up with on a nippy winter day. I served up my favourite house chilli cheese jaffle toast on the side to turn up the comfort a few notches.
For The Soup
Sweet onions 500g
Butter 2 tbsp
Brown sugar 2 tbsp
Garlic 3 cloves
Chicken Stock 2 litres, fat removed
Olive Oil 3-4 tbsp
Bay leaf 2
Thyme 2 sprigs
Brandy/ Whiskey 1/2 cup
All-purpose flour 2 tsp
For The Jaffle:
Makes two jaffles
Bread 4 slices
Onions 1, small, chopped finely
Capscium 1/2 chopped finely
Green chilli 1, finely chopped, seeds intact
Grated Cheese 4-5 tbsp (use Cheddar or Gruyere)
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan and sweat the onions with the brown sugar, thyme, bayleaf and garlic for 20-30 minutes till the onions are a good deep brown in colour.
Add in the flour and stir this up with the onions, then proceed to splash in the stock and the brandy and leave covered partially to cook on a low simmer for an hour.
Make the filling for the jaffles by combining the chopped onions, capsicum, chilli and grated cheese using your hands. Butter/Oil the inside of the jaffle iron.Place one slice of bread inside the warm jaffle iron and top with filling. Enclose with another slice of bread and set this over medium flame. Cook each sandwich in the jaffle iron 2-3 minutes on each side depending on how warm and crisp you want it. Serve it on the side with the soup.
Serve both immediately.