French Onion Soup

French Onion SoupBeing heavily pregnant & almost ready to pop – I have been advised by many people to stock up my freezer. So this is me making a start! But this intensely delicious French Onion Soup has a unique KitchenMason twist…

Traditionally made with beef stock, I opt for chicken stock as I personally think it gives a more rounded & delicate flavour. Why don’t you be the judge and give it a go yourself?

Here is what you will need to make 6 Servings. (Approx 2 litres.)

For the Soup

  • 50g Butter
  • 750g Onions (approx 850-900g before peeling & slicing)
  • 2 x Garlic Cloves
  • 45g Plain Flour
  • 187ml Bottle of White Wine
  • 2 litres Chicken Stock (Good Quality)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
  • Salt & Pepper

To Serve (Optional)

  • Slices of Stale Baguette
  • Cheddar Cheese, grated

Essential Equipment

  • Large lidded pot

Firstly, prep your veg. I honestly couldn’t be bothered to stand and slice all those onions – the solution? Get out your food processor with the slicing disc attachment & use that. It saves masses of time and effort.

So peel & finely slice all those onions and finely chop the garlic.

Take your large pot & place over a medium heat.

Add in the butter. When melted, tip in all the onions and give it a stir.

French Onion SoupContinue to cook for approx 25-35 minutes whilst stirring occasionally. You want to get a nice golden brown colour – try not to be impatient and give in early. Also, don’t worry too much if it catches on the bottom of the pan, it’s all adding caramelisation & flavour!

French Onion SoupOnce the onions are done, add in the garlic & flour and stir continuously for about 2 minutes.

French Onion SoupAdd in the white wine and stir for about a minute until most of it has been absorbed.

French Onion Soup-4Gradually add in the stock then bring it all to the boil.

Add in the bay leaves, thyme sprigs & a generous helping of salt & pepper. Stir it all up, pop the lid on and simmer for about 25 minutes.

French Onion SoupWhen the timer has beeped – remove the lid and fish out the bay leaves & thyme sprigs.

French Onion SoupIf saving for later, allow to cool completely before dividing into bags/tubs and freezing.

If you want to serve straight away – preheat your grill.

Slice up an old, stale baguette and grate some cheese. Divide the soup between oven proof bowls, place 1-2 slices of baguette in each bowl and cover with grated cheese.

Place under the grill until the cheese is golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.

French Onion SoupI absolutely adore this soup! There’s just something so much more special about the flavour when you use chicken stock instead of beef. I often find with the traditional recipe, there’s a rich ‘twang’ that I don’t enjoy but with this version? It’s just heavenly! And let’s be honest – everything is better with melted cheese 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies, until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

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Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!Welcome to January 2015! With the undisputed return of exercise regimes and healthy diets, it’s time to abandon the December gluttony & adopt the resolution dominated New Year.

Honestly though? I think we’re all far too pressurized into being ‘healthy healthy’ in January and a lot of what we strive to achieve is, well, unrealistic to say the least. Personally I believe it’s easier to trick yourself by simply altering the hearty wintery foods we all love into healthier versions. That way, you’re more likely to stick to trying to eat better. The alternative? Eating a lettuce leaf for lunch then going home, giving in, and scoffing the entire kitchen! Be honest – we’ve all done it.

So! Here’s what I propose you start with. This surprisingly sensational, baked sweet potato topped with Boston style baked beans. Trust me – these beans are FAR superior to any you can buy in a tin and are well worth a little extra time & effort! Another bonus? It’s naturally gluten free so a great, tasty dish for you coeliac sufferers too.

Here is what you will need.

For the Beans – Serves 2-3

  • 150g Smoked Bacon
  • 600g Cannellini Beans
  • 2 x Small Onions
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 150ml Vegetable Stock
  • 50ml Runny Honey
  • 30ml Cider Vinegar
  • 30ml Mushroom Ketchup, optional
  • 30g Brown Sugar
  • 50g Tomato Ketchup
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Mustard Powder
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Coarse Black Pepper
  • Fresh Parsley to garnish, optional

For the Baked Potatoes – Serves 2

  • 2 Medium sized Sweet Potatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Additional Topping – Grated Cheddar Cheese, optional

 

Preheat your oven to 170°C/Fan 160°C.

To make the beans, prep your ingredients. Chop up the bacon, finely dice the onions & crush the garlic.

Preferably, use a large roasting pan that can also be used on the hob. Alternatively, just use a frying pan to start with and transfer to a roasting pan.

Heat your chosen food vessel over a medium/high heat then add in the bacon and fry until browned. (About 5mins.) No need for any oil, the bacon will create it’s own fabulous juices. If you used a frying pan, transfer the bacon & juices into a roasting pan.

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!Add in the beans, (including the juices) the diced onion & the garlic and give it a stir.

Put the rest of the ingredients (minus the fresh parsley) into a jug, stir, then tip it all into the roasting pan. Mix it all up then pop it in the lower part of your oven and bake uncovered for about 60-70mins until the sauce has reduced down to a beautiful sticky sauce & the beans are soft.

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!These beans will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days if you wanted to make them in advance. Alternatively, keep covered to one side then simply reheat when your potatoes are ready.

To bake the sweet potatoes, crank the oven up to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

Rub the potatoes in a little olive oil & some salt. Place on a baking tray lined with foil & put into the centre of the preheated oven for approx 45 minutes. When done, the skin should be nice & crispy and the insides soft & smooth.

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!When your potatoes are cooked, slice them down the middle and, if you like, add a little grated cheddar cheese. Then top with a generous helping of the beans & sprinkle with some freshly chopped parsley to add a little freshness.

Et vous voila! You got yourself a wholesome, hearty dinner that’s not only really good for you – but tastes incredible! And it’s only a stones throw away from the regular jacket potato with cheese & beans that we all know and love.

Seriously, you’ve got to give this a go. I promise it’s worth the extra bit of effort to make your own beans. I genuinely wish you could get these in a tin but, for now, I’m more than happy to make my own when they taste as good as this!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies.

Oh, and Happy New Year everyone! Until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

Slow Cooker Tomato Chicken!

Slow Cooker Tomato Chicken!We’re in the frosty grips of winter, there’s tons of Christmas preparations to be done,  parties to attend, cards to be written, shopping to be bought and no time to do it all. So what do we need? Another no fuss, hearty and amazingly delicious slow cooker meal! And it has to be said… this is definitely my favourite so far.

Here is what you will need to feed 2 (easily doubled)

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, skinless & boneless
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Jar of Tomato Based Sauce (I used Ragu’s Tomato & Pecorino Cheese Sauce )
  • 6-7 Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 100g-150g Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Parsley, optional to decorate

And before you say it… the jarred sauce? We all need to cheat some times!

Right on with the show.

First thing’s first, season your chicken breasts generously with salt & pepper. Tip half the jar of sauce into the slow cooker and spread along the bottom. Place the chicken breasts on top, add in the cherry tomatoes for good measure then cover with the remaining sauce.

Slow Cooker Tomato ChickenSlow Cooker Tomato ChickenPop the lid on and cook on low for about 3-4 hours.

See how easy that was?!

Slow Cooker Tomato ChickenWhen the chicken is cooked through, transfer to a baking dish and pop the grill on a medium/high heat.

Slow Cooker Tomato ChickenNow for the beautiful part. Cover it in grated cheddar cheese…

Slow Cooker Tomato ChickenPlace it under the grill and wait for the magic to happen.

Slow Cooker Tomato ChickenCOMMENCE DROOLING! When the cheese is bubbling and golden, sprinkle over some chopped parsley and serve with some crushed new potatoes doused in olive oil and butter.

Slow Cooker Tomato ChickenJust look how magnificent it is! That sensual, beautifully melted golden cheese cascading over the sweet, seductive tomato sauce on a juicy chicken breast… *Homer moment*

In all seriousness, this really is so simple to make, incredibly tasty and down right ruddy marvelous! If you find yourself short on time over the festive period, I would definitely dust off your slow cooker and give this one a go.

Hope you all enjoyed the post my lovelies, until next time!

Miss KitchenMason

Hearty Meatloaf!

It was Saturday night & we were off to York the next day so I didn’t want to have to do a lot in the kitchen. Dan (my other half) has always expressed a liking for meatloaf & it’s easy to make with a lack of pots to wash. So I thought I would give it a go.

The recipe I found was another from Lacey at A Sweet Pea Chef. Once again it’s American measurements so I have converted them to the following.

Meatloaf:

  • 450g Beef Mince
  • 90g Dry Breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Parsley
  • 50g Parmesan
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 2 tsp Worcester Sauce
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 Egg
  • 190ml Warm Water
  • 1 x Onion, chopped finely (Not in original recipe but I wanted one in!)
Glaze:
  • 75g Ketchup
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp Dry Mustard
Preheat your oven to 160°C. Place all the ingredients in a bowl & mix together lightly. Then transfer to a 9″  (23cm) Loaf tin. I used a silicone loaf “tin” so it was easier to get out once cooked. Mix the glaze and spread it on top of the meatloaf.
Place in the oven for 1 hour or until the meat is cooked through.
Then sit on your bum & wait for all the hard work to be done for you by the oven!
Wait at least 5-10 minutes before slicing.

And Bob’s your uncle.  A Really easy & simple to make dinner that should please all. Really few pots too which is always a bonus!
Thanks a million for reading again.
Miss Kicthen Mason