Gourmet Galley: Soup-making time

The temperature outside doesn’t have to drop much for me to put on a pot of soup. French Onion Soup and Gumbo aux Herbes are two I made recently and enjoyed.

Onion soup is easy to make and the only thing that takes time is slicing the onions. Instead of slicing into rings, I now prefer cutting the onion in half or quarters before slicing; the soup is easier to eat that way. Once the onions are sautéed, canned beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and seasoning are added.

Toasted bread sprinkled with Swiss or Provolone is broiled over the top of the soup. If your soup bowls cannot be placed under the broiler for a minute or two, broil the cheese toast separately and place it over the hot soup right before serving.

The other soup is an old New Orleans dish officially called Gumbo aux Herbes, but is affectionately known as “Gumbo Z’herbes” or “Gumbo Zab.” It is simply gumbo with cooked greens in it. The greens can be anything you have from mustard greens, spinach, turnip greens or beet tops.

This was not a gumbo I had growing up, but I do like the greens added to it. Until I made it the first time, I did not realize it was basically a dark roux-based gumbo with greens cooked in it. I learned that while most people make it with dark roux, some use a lighter-broth-type base. I made the gumbo using Savoie’s prepared roux and added the cooked greens to it. Use Savoie’s or your favorite brand of prepared dark roux.

Corinne Cook is a columnist for The Advocate. Reach her at food@theadvocate.com.