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Old 11-08-2013, 03:51 AM   #1
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Vegetarian French Onion Dip au Jus

I made this tonight, it turned out bomb. It's not strictly veg since it contains a small amount of worcestershire sauce, which could be omitted if desired. The star anise in the onions and the black vinegar in the jus really set it off.

4-5 yellow onions, 1/4" slices
2 tbsp. butter
2 whole star anise, rinsed
S&P
Crusty french bread cut in half lengthwise and hollowed out slightly
Gruyere cheese, grated
Mushroom jus, recipe follows.

Caramelize the onions
Caramelize the onions in the butter in a pan over medium heat with the star anise, stirring occasionally until evenly caramelized, adding a sprinkle of salt and pepper about halfway through the process. Once fully caramelized, remove star anise pieces and discard. If any fond is in the pan, use a couple ounces of water to deglaze it off the pan. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the caramelized onions for mushroom jus.
Assemble the sandwich
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place open bread in the oven with the cheese in it to melt and warm the bread. Heat the onions and mushrooms if necessary and spoon into the sandwich. Serve with hot jus in a mug for dipping, a kosher dill pickle spear, and chips or fries.

Mushroom jus
1/4 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 lb. shiitake mushroms, stemmed and caps sliced
4 cups water, plus more as needed
1/4 cup extra dry vermouth
1/4 cup caramelized onions, reserved from above
2 tbsp. minced shallot
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 1/2 tbsp. Better than Bullion mushroom base
2 tsp. Chinese black vinegar, or balsamic
2 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce (optional for strict vegetarian)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, or a few sprigs fresh with stems removed
1/4 tsp. dried tarragon, or substitute fresh if desired
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
Clarified butter or ghee
S&P, and heaping 1/4 tsp MSG if desired

In a medium dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the butter and saute the mushrooms and both shiitake stems and caps until browned and fond is forming. Add thyme, tarragon, shallot and cook 30 seconds before adding garlic and cooking another 30 seconds. Add soy, worcestershire, vinegar, black pepper, and vermouth and cook until reduced to a very thick syrup, about 1-2 minutes, making sure to scrape all brown bits from the pan as it boils.
Add mushroom base and water and stir to mix evenly. Lower heat and simmer about 15 minutes, then add in the reserved caramelized onions and cook another 10 minutes. Season with MSG if desired and check seasoning, then remove from heat. Strain out solid pieces and gently press out liquid from them back into the jus. Discard the shiitake stems and add the remaining solid bits to the caramelized onions for the sandwiches. Off the heat, whisk in the xanthan gum and set aside, keeping warm.

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Old 11-08-2013, 08:51 AM   #2
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Sounds very good! I reckon the xanthan gum is added as a thickener? I can't recall ever seeing xanthan gum for sale in these parts. I will leave it out and see what happens.
Thanks!
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Old 11-08-2013, 01:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoot View Post
Sounds very good! I reckon the xanthan gum is added as a thickener? I can't recall ever seeing xanthan gum for sale in these parts. I will leave it out and see what happens.
Thanks!
You could probably add some cornstarch slurry to the water to thicken it up.
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Old 11-08-2013, 08:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoot View Post
Sounds very good! I reckon the xanthan gum is added as a thickener? I can't recall ever seeing xanthan gum for sale in these parts. I will leave it out and see what happens.
Thanks!
You can use arrowroot as a thickener too. I do use xanthan gum when making hot sauce,as it thickens and also gives it a "shine".
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:42 PM   #5
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I can;t quite figure why or what is the purpose add xanthum gum, even a wee bit. Or why are we zooming in on this one ingred. Au jus is not usually thickened. If it is, it becomes more a sauce or even a gravy.

I am saving this recipe for a couple reasons.

I am intrigued adding star anise to flavor onions. Cook down for an onion jam. Add as an undercurrent to french onion soup.

The mushroom jus has potential use in way many recipes when an alternative to a meat sauce is wanted. I was going to say, I'd add a dram of wine in there, then I notice it has dry vermouth, so the bases are covered.

As my extended family seems to volumetrically multiply each holiday, there seems to be more vegetarians stepping up to the buffet. Need to be more creative and sensible/ sensitive. While I doubt we are serving French dip in any form at these gatherings, this give good pause for thought.

No M nom nom nom> thanks.
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Old 11-09-2013, 12:39 AM   #6
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normally when I've made French dips au jus I add a tiny roux with shallot and sherry before adding the beef jus.
Also the French Onion soup I make usually had a roux in it and I wanted to see how the whole thing turned out with xanthan gum instead. The texture of the jus is just barely changed but I felt it "coated" the sandwich better when dipped. Certainly optional.
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