Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Onion Soup, Chicken Thighs and Filled Squash

It really went together better than it sounds. I started out tonight only knowing that I wanted to make onion soup. But we needed more slots filled on our P90X nutrition chart than that would handle. Plus, I knew it wouldn't keep us filled up for longer than about an hour, and much as I like bedtime, 8:00 is a little early, even for me.

I started with the soup. I love onion soup. It's so simple, it's brown, and so good. Here's my basic method. It would serve 4 as a first course or 2 for a light supper.

4 to 5 small onions
2 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbs. Vermouth
3 - 4 cups chicken or beef broth
Saute the onions in the butter over medium low heat. Add the kosher salt. Stir occasionally.

When the onions get to the limp stage like this, add the brown sugar and stir it in. Keep stirring. Eventually, the onions will start to caramelize and deepen in color.

And you'll wind up with a smattering of onions on the bottom of the pot instead of the half a pot you started out with. Add the vermouth and the chicken stock and then put a lid on it and turn the heat to low and simmer it.

I had some squash, I think it's Hubbard, and thought "I guess I need to use this". So I whacked it in half, scooped out the innards, drizzled it with olive oil and sea salt, and (guess what?) put it on a foil-lined pan on the gas grill! I know! You could do it in the oven, obviously, but since it's not anywhere near cold here, I don't much like preheating the kitchen to 400.

This is one of my dogs. His name is Love Boat. We call him Dinky. He was helping. (Actually, he was watching a bug.) Not the most intelligent look, is it? He kind of looks like a stoner here.

Once I got the squash going on the grill, I turned my attention to what I was going to actually do with it. I started with brown rice, then decided that would be good mixed with some dried cranberries, apple, thyme, a little parmesan cheese, and some toasted pecans.

Here's where your pictures end. As you can see, I was running out of light. I've just got to get something going in there for more light - either a light box or an external remote flash or make Phillip shine a mag light on the food.

I swapped out the squash with some chicken thighs that I had salted and peppered and dusted with some seasoned bread crumbs. I grilled those, then served dinner. Phillip loved the soup, then dug in to the squash. He said (surprised) "Wow! This is really good! I was expecting it to be boring." Thanks for the vote of confidence, Pootie Pie.

For starting out not having a clue what I was going to cook, it wound up being a pretty good dinner. And we have leftovers. That squash will be great stuffed with the leftover rice mixture and we can add chopped chicken to that for a one-dish meal.

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