Saturday, January 7, 2012

Frugal French Onion Soup Recipe

Nearly a year ago, I posted a recipe for one of my favorite slow cooker recipes: Spicy Italian Beef for Sandwiches.  The original post is here.  The recipe comes from a great little book called "Cooking with Beer".

Here is the recipe:

Spicy Italian Beef for Sandwiches

(From a book called "Cooking with Beer")

1 chuck tender roast or chuck roast (trimmed of fat) approx. 3 to 4 pounds or an equal amount of boneless beef ribs
1 can of beef broth (14 ounce size), reduced sodium if desired
1 bottle or can of beer (I like to O'Douls non-alcoholic Amber Ale) I used a can of Coors Light this time
1 pkg. (dry) Good Season's Brand Zesty Italian Dressing Mix
1 16-ounce jar pepperoncini peppers, drained (remove all stems with a knife)
Hoagie or french rolls
Sliced or grated cheese of your choosing (recommend provolone cheese, pepper jack cheese, Monterrey jack cheese, Swiss cheese)

1. Put the roast, broth and beer in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the dressing mix on top of the roast; do not stir. Place the peppers around the roast.
2. Cook covered on low for 8 to 10 hours for a large roast or 5 to 6 hours for boneless beef ribs.
3. Shred the meat and make sandwiches on rolls. Top with pepperonci peppers and cheese (If desired, first toast buns under the broiler, then top with cheese, then melt cheese under the broiler, and then top with the shredded meat and peppers). Enjoy! (I like to strain the cooking juices and eat the sandwich like a French Dip with Au Jus).

Each time I make this recipe, I end up dumping the flavorful broth down the drain. I use a little of the strained broth for sandwich dipping, but still... it seemed so wasteful.

Ding!  Light bulb moment!

The last two times I made this recipe, I strained and cooled the cooking liquid, put it in a plastic zip close bag and froze it. This week, I thawed both bags of frozen cooking liquid, sauteed up 4 or 5 sliced yellow and red onions in a little extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper, added in the broth... and presto!  Frugal French Onion Soup!  Since we are being a bit more conscientious about our diet, we are eating small portions with just a few croutons and a little grated Swiss cheese for garnish.  It is really good!  So I encourage you to try out the slow cooker recipe for Spicy Italian Beef and save the cooking liquid and make some super simple, frugal, and fast French Onion Soup!

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