a happy bijoulais nouveau to y’all!
bijoulais nouveau is really a cute little holiday. i only learned about it since moving to DC- the closest I’ve ever come to speaking french in texas is “laissez les bons temps rouler!” the young french wine is actually quite un-tasty. it’s aged for only a few weeks, but brilliant marketing has awarded it an entire midnight celebration- brava! french law prohibits the young red from being uncorked until 12am on the second wednesday of each november, so francophiles wait in anticipation. a few classic dc bistros, like 1905 and Bistro du Coin, were throwing their celebrations last night, but who were we fooling- 2am on a school night?
so i hunkered down with Boston Boy in my kitchen, while my roommates set some serious mood lighting and french music, and embarked on a journey into these french onion soup dumplings. there are recipes for these little succulent pouches of magic all over the internet (ever since making their Cooking Channel debut), so i glanced at all of them and then decided on my own approach. and here it is!
for 20 dumplings, you’ll need:
20 wonton wrappers
2 onions (mix of red and yellow)
1/2 bouillon cube
1 tbs flour
10 sprigs of thyme
2 cups beef broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups shredded gruyere or swiss cheese
1 french baguette
Optional: a cut of beef (we used new york strip)
1. Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Thinly slice your onions and add them to the oil. Give the whole thing a stir, then cover and let them cook for 10-15 minutes without messing with them.
2. While the onions are softening, dice your beef into 1/2 inch cubes (if you would like to make this vegetarian or if you don’t want beef in your dumplings, then omit this step and just heat your beef broth over low heat on the back burner). Season with salt & pepper, then sear on each side over medium-high heat until they are caramelized. Add your beef broth and dry white wine and a couple sprigs of thyme, then reduce the heat to low and let the broth & beef simmer.
3. Remove the top from the onions and stir in 1 tbs flour, leaves from 5 sprigs of thyme, 1 tsp salt & pepper, and 1/2 bouillon cube. Re-cover and let simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes.
4. When the onions are ready, you’re ready to start building your dumplings. Lay out a sheet of parchment paper and dip each wonton wrapper in the beef broth (this makes the wrappers easier to work with and more flavorful). Drop a tablespoon of the onions onto each wonton and wrap the sides up into a little onion purse. Since you’ve dipped these into the beef broth, the dumpling edges will stick perfectly. I preferred the more traditional onions, but Boston Boy added a cube of beef to each of his- man hunger!
5. Place the dumplings into an oven-safe dish, ladle the broth over your dumplings, and top with (a lot of) shredded gruyere and swiss cheese. For that delicious crouton (arguably the best part of french onion soup), poke a toothpick through a cube of french bread and into each dumpling. In addition to being delicious, these are like little buoys to mark where the dumplings lie.
6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, then broil for a minute or until the cheese is golden.
We had tons of broth and onions left since we only made a few dumplings, so we ended up just combining everything for a delicious french onion soup- hello leftovers! And full disclosure: we popped the Bijoulais cork about an hour before midnight. BB says we’ll be cursed with bad french kisses for a year… I haven’t noticed yet.