October 18, 2012

French Onion Soup Dumplings

My friend sent me a link for these French Onion Soup Dumplings several months ago, and we finally had dinner together. Since her birthday was only a couple days away, I wanted to make these for her as part of her birthday treat.

She adored them! My hubby wasn't too sure with the first one, but they quickly grew on him. Even a day later, he still is complementing me on them. Sorry not to have a photo, but we devoured the half batch we made.

French Onion Soup Dumplings
4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup thinly sliced yellow or red onion (or a combination)
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup lower-salt beef broth
1 cup lower-salt chicken broth
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 lb. dense, chewy bread, crust removed, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic (1 medium clove)
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
40 square wonton wrappers
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 cups vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups grated Monterrey Jack
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the soup, melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they’re a deep caramel color, 25 to 35 minutes. Raise the heat to medium, add the wine, and cook until it has completely evaporated, 5 to 9 minutes. Add the beef and chicken broths, and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the thyme and vinegar, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and let cool. Line a 4 1/2 x 8 1/2-inch loaf pan with foil and pour the soup mixture into the pan. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.

To make the croutons, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss the bread with the olive oil, garlic, thyme, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Spread the croutons on a small baking sheet, and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool and then skewer 40 of the best-looking croutons with toothpicks (save the leftovers for another use).

To make the dumplings, working with about 10 wonton wrappers at a time, arrange them on a flat surface and brush the edges with the egg. Unmold the soup mixture from the loaf pan. Using a chef’s knife, cut the frozen soup lengthwise into 4 long, even strips, and then cut each strip crosswise into 10 even pieces, to make 40 pieces total, each about 3/4 inch square. Put one square in the center of each wrapper and fold up the edges, pressing to create a purse-like dumpling. Repeat to make 40 dumplings. Put the dumplings on a small baking sheet or tray and freeze until ready to fry.

Heat the vegetable oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until the temperature on a candy thermometer reads 365°F or until the oil begins to ripple and bubbles immediately when the edge of one dumpling is dipped into it. Have ready a tray or plate lined with paper towels. Add as many dumplings as will fit in the pan without crowding, and fry until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the dumplings to the paper towels. Continue frying the remaining dumplings.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Divide the dumplings among 8 to 10 small, shallow ovenproof gratin dishes and top with the cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted, 5 to 6 minutes. Stick a crouton skewer in each dumpling, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and serve. Makes 40 dumplings.

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