Friday, December 28, 2007
French Onion Baked Potato
French Onion Baked Potato. It's not pretty, being somewhat bland in color, but I literally moaned when I bit into it.
You will need (per potato)
1 large potato
1 sweet onion
a bay leaf
salt and pepper
beef broth (I used some leftover homemade beef stock in which had earlier cooked a garlic studded roast beast, but canned will work)
extra virgin olive oil
To Start: Rub your scrubbed and clean potato with olive oil. I use one that is made of olives that taste like butter, from Artesano's in Indianapolis.
After your potato is oiled, poke a few holes in it so it doesn't blow up in your oven, resulting in potato residue on your clothing that will likely get you secondary screening by Security Canine Barkley. Then place directly on the rack of a 400 degree F. oven and set the timer for 60 minutes.
Next, get one sweet onion, fairly large but not a Jabba the Hut sized one, and chop it into fairly thin slivers or pieces. .
SNIFF. No, it wasn't the onions I was thinking about my last grouping before bow season.
The onions, when chopped, will look to be almost the same mass as the potato, but they cook down quite a bit.
Put the onions in a pan with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and a couple pinches of salt (which help caramelize it) and cook on low/medium heat. Stir every few minutes, for at least 30 minutes. The onions should be VERY soft and caramelized, starting to turn golden. In the last five minutes raise the heat to medium, and cook until very light golden brown, stirring constantly, if needed. You want soft, not crunchy onions, so watch they don't burn, adding a teaspoon more olive oil as needed.
Remove the onions, putting them in a little saucepan and keep warm. Do not rinse fry pan. Remove it from heat, let cool a minute and then put in a healthy splash of Malbec wine (if you don't have a dry red wine, a splash of Chardonnay and Vermouth would work.)
With the wine in the pan, stir up the little bits of onion left with a spatula. Return to low heat and add 1/3 to 1/2 cup beef broth. Add a heaping half teaspoon of Summer Savory (if you can't find, use thyme), a bay leaf, 1/4 heaping teaspoon fresh ground pepper and a dash of salt. Simmer on low to medium low until reduced to 1/4 cup of liquid (by the time the potato is done, it should be ready).
While this simmers, shred just shy of a half cup of Gruyere cheese and also cut 4 thin slices (about an inch by 4 inches) of cheese for the top of the potato. Add the shredded cheese to the onion mixture. Reserve the strips. I used a really good quality Swiss Gruyere.
At an hour, remove potato from oven and turn oven to broil, positioning the top rack two rungs down. Cut off a thin wedge off the top of the potato and then scoop the potato flesh out of the potato as well as the little bit of flesh from the top piece, which you won't need. Mix the potato flesh with the broth over low heat (bay leaf removed and any extra broth removed with a spoon if you think after simmering it's more than 1/4 cup). Add onion mixture to wine infused broth and potato mixture. Mix with a spoon until combined and creamy with the cheese starting to melt. You can add additional salt and pepper to taste (I didn't think it needed it). Spoon the mixture back into the potato carefully. It will be more than the potato will hold, so you end up with a nice little Mt. McKinley of potato goodness on the top.
That potato summit then will be conquered by the strips of cheese which you will lay across the top of the potato in a small baking dish. Place the dish in the oven under the broiler and broil the potato until the cheese is melted and starting to brown (watch carefully, better light gold than burnt). Top with a sprig of fresh thyme and serve with a green salad.
Try not to make those little noises when you eat it. It makes the neighbors wonder.