French Onion Beef Soup with Vietnamese Aromatics and Noodles

I didn’t want to like the results of this recipe because it required a fair amount of work. But, it yielded a lot of soup, and it was so tasty, that I decided I had to like it. Adapted from Bon Appetit.

Here’s what you need:

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 pounds pot roast, or beef chuck roast, or brisket, or another cut that has a good amount of fat to break down during the slow cooking process

8 garlic cloves, peeled

4 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and cut into chunks

6 scallions, cut into large pieces

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup soy sauce

11.5 cups water

2 teaspoons Chinese five spice

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground cinamon

3 tablespoons butter

5 pounds onions, mixture of sweet and yellow

1 package mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

8-16 oz. cooked noodles (ramen, or pappardelle, or even fettucine)

Here’s what you do:

1. Cut the beef into 2-3 inch cubes, removing any tough parts or large chunks of fat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot. Season the beef with salt, and cook until browned, about 10-15 minutes.

2. Remove the beef from the pot. Pour out the excess fat. Add the second tablespoon of olive oil, and then cook the garlic, ginger and green onions until fragrant and browning, about 2-3 minutes. Add the spices and cook another minute.

3. Add the wine to the pan, scrape up any bits, and allow to cook for a few minutes.

4. Add the beef back to the pot. Add the soy sauce and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until meat is falling apart, about 1.5 to 2 hours.

5. In the meantime, make the onions. Thinly slice the onions. In a large pot, heat the butter over high heat until foaming. Add the onions and season with salt. Cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes, until they start to turn slightly golden. Reduce the heat to medium-high, stirring occassionaly, until they are brown and soft (about 45 minutes). Turn off the heat.

6. When the beef is finished cooking, remove from the pot and spread out until cool enough to handle.

7. Run the broth through a fine mesh strainer. Discard any solids, and add the broth to the onion pot.

8. Shred the beef with your hands, removing any tough or fatty pieces, and add to the pot.

9. Add the mushrooms to the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for about 30 minutes.

10. Stir in the rice wine vinegar. Add extra salt and pepper as needed. Serve in a bowl with noodles and freshly sliced scallions.


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