Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Tuscan Onion Soup (Carabaccia) – French Onion Soup Before It Was French

I’ve wanted to make carabaccia ever since I found out it was the ancient ancestor of French onion soup. Not only is that an interesting fact, but it’s also a great addition to your dinner party conversation repertoire, especially where there are French chefs involved.

Okay, now let’s talk cinnamon. The safe play is to not add any, and live happily ever after. However, in very, very small amounts, it really does add a mysterious, wonderfully warming background note that you actually might enjoy. There’s only one way to find out, but please proceed with caution. Too much will render the soup inedible, and there’s really no way to know what “too much” is.

As I mentioned in the video, if you want to cut down on the stirring, you can cook the onions in a roasting pan. Just pop them in a 325 F. oven until they’re done, stirring a few times along the way. How long exactly is anyone’s guess, but just like the stove-top method, take your time, and wait until they are very soft.

So, whether you’re a culinary history buff like me, and want to taste what French onion soup tasted like 500 years ago, or it’s freezing outside, and a steaming bowl of something delicious sounds good, or both, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 6 Portions:
4 pounds red onions, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 sage leaves, plus more for toast
1/4 cup finely ground almonds
very tiny pinch of cinnamon*
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
5-6 cups beef, chicken, or vegetable broth
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated pecorino or parmesan cheese

For the toast:
3 thick slices Italian bread, halved
dress with olive oil, sage and grated Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Toast in a 400 F. oven for 15 minutes or until browned.

* While traditional, many people don’t enjoy the effect cinnamon has on the sweetness of the soup, so you may want to omit it, or add an extremely small amount, and then adjust from there. You can also make the soup without any, and then experiment by adding a trace amount to a small sample cup, and see what you think.


Chuck said...

"After all, you are the Frank Sinatra of your carabaccia..."

Unknown said...

i just love the real italian recipes; so simple so earthy.

DH said...

Any thoughts on whether almond flour would work? My wife has this around as she doesn't deal with gluten all that well.

Kennapop3 said...

I'll try this with the cinnamon but first
with cayenne instead. Someone can be a
true follower of The Great Chef.

Unknown said...

Chef John Thank you for your craft!
I would like to ask if you can recommend a brand of knives to purchase as I am overwhelmed with the choices out there...I wont take offense if you choose not to..I have been disappointed with knives that don't hold there edge.

Bisharry said...

Very good. Since I'm vegetarian, I used Better Than Bouillon Not Beef for the stock. And I wrote the recipe incorrectly - only used 2 pounds of onions. Probably even better using the right amount of onions!

Unknown said...

I have tried carabaccia tonight, with the traditional ingrediences.
I just love it, its a great comination of tastes, The vinegar, the cinnamon and I added a little bit of honey.
It's a very unique combination of tastes and I really like.
It's no repacement for french onion soup, both have unique flavous.

Thank you very much for showing the recipe, Chef John!


Tellner said...

If you want to cook the onions in the oven how long and at what temperature?

Splelunker said...

Can you use ground sage instead of sage leaves?

Grin Gal said...

I just love your comments. Your sense of humor really adds to the enjoyment of reading your blog and watching your videos!

JuncoJay said...

I love this recipe idea! You've struck again in terms of making a viewer salivate.
Quick detail question: do you use raw or roasted almonds for the grind?

Many thanks

Obsidian Iris said...

For the poster that asked about using almond flour, it should be fine since almond flour is simply ground almonds. Check the packaging to make sure nothing has been added. The only thing that may be an issue is the texture. Almond flour may be more finely ground than Chef John originally used but I doubt it would be an issue.

For the one who asked about raw vs. roasted, I’d play it safe and go with raw.

As for good knives, there is a large range in the quality of knives. There are plenty of good and excellent knives out there, but regardless of which brand you choose, all metal knives require periodic sharpening and honing. It’s not an inherent flaw or weakness of the metal, design, or manufacturing for a metal knife to lose its edge, it’s simply a matter of maintenance to get your knives periodically sharpened. You may want to research ceramic knives. I believe I heard that they never require sharpening but I have no idea why. I have Furi and Shun knives and love them both.

JuncoJay said...

@Obsidian Iris : thank you kindly for the helpful tips!

Mediumeddie said...

You are the Chewbacca of your carabaccia!
Thanks,chef great tasting soup .