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Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday Meal: Soupe a l'Oignon Gratinée

I made soupe a l’oignon gratinée yesterday, commonly known in English as French onion soup.  It’s a very time-consuming recipe, especially if you make your own broth which I did of course.  I have some great stock I made with gallina in my freezer but I wanted to make this broth using meat. I had been thinking about this dish for weeks but circumstances conspired against actually making it until yesterday. It’s hard for any dish to live up to that kind of expectation and my version didn’t actually blow me away but then again, I can’t say that I have had better, even in France.

To go along with it I made a recipe that I stole from my new favorite bar in the neighborhood, Bar Casa Morrut, Calle Maestro José Serrano 4. Pepe makes some great food in this place and it’s very inexpensive.  One of my favorite tapas at his place is chicken livers fried in bay leaves and garlic.  I hadn’t eaten liver of any sort for a long time as I am the only person that I know who actually eats the stuff. Most of my friends here can’t even stand the smell of it cooking which is a shame because my butcher has wonderful liver, both pork and beef. The chicken livers I bought at the supermarket, higaditos y menudillos (little livers and giblets). I had to look up the word “menudillos” and then I had to look up “giblets” in English. From the online Oxford dictionary:

plural noun
  • the liver, heart, gizzard, and neck of a chicken or other fowl, usually removed before the bird is cooked, and often used to make gravy, stuffing, or soup.

·         Middle English (in the sense 'an inessential appendage', later 'garbage, offal'): from Old French gibelet 'game bird stew', probably from gibier 'birds or mammals hunted for sport'

I never knew. I thought "giblets" was something specific. In the case of the ones I bought from my supermarket they mean hearts. Now I know. "Mollejas" or gizzards are another item people cook with abundantly here in Spain.  All this is generally something most people in America throw away, although it’s more likely they never see it in the first place as it is removed before their chicken is neatly packaged in plastic. I have always been rather old-school in my eating habits and to say that I don’t shy away from strange foods would be an understatement. But it goes way beyond me trying to be macho; I actually like offal, as it is sometimes called.

Bar Casa Morrut Chicken Livers and Giblets

Simply fry the livers in hot olive oil with bay leaves, garlic, ad a pinch of salt. I threw in a finely chopped onion just because I had one on hand.  I made a sandwich with the liver on some amazing bread I buy at the local bakery, chapata con aceitunas y romero. If the French soup didn’t blow me away the simple sandwich certainly did the trick.

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