Peasant Cookery: Winter Survival Soup
Address: 100-283 Bannatyne Avenue
Neighbourhood: Exchange District
Phone Number: 204-989-7700
It's mid-February. Winnipeg is in the midst of an epic cold snap. For those looking in, our sub-Arctic temperatures are pretty terrifying. (We were colder than Mars the last day of December.) But for locals, it's winter weather as usual.
We can take it. We're a hearty bunch.
Embracing winter in Winnipeg means: bundling up in multiple layers; wearing a toque and serious winter boots at all times; and going outside every single day. (No shut-ins allowed.)
It also means finding food that warms from the inside out. That's where French Onion Soup comes in. A meaty, full-bodied stock is the foundation. Carmelized onions are a must. Croutons or a slice of dense, earthy bread comes next. It's all capped with a layer of melted gruyere and is served scorching hot from the oven. Those are the starting points for this traditional meal in a bowl, whose roots go back hundreds of years.
At Peasant Cookery, tradition is both embraced and ever so slightly twisted. Every slurp of broth delivers a hearty but not heavy beefy essence, and perhaps a note or two of red vino. While the stock is the number one element, cheese and a crouton (toasted bread) are a close second.
At the Exchange District dining room, a slice of house made bread topped with Swiss cheese crowns this warming winter soup. A perfect melt of cheese caps the crock pot and drips over the side. And who doesn't love those crispy bits of cheese on the edge and sides? If your spoon doesn't work to dislodge the toasted bits than use your fingers. I did.
Having French Onion Soup feels like a bit of a treasure hunt too. I love trying to load my spoon with every element in the crock: broth, onions, bread and cheese. And while it may be a touch gauche, who doesn't love when melted cheese makes its own tight-wire from bowl to uplifted spoon?
So, what have we learned?
Winter in Winnipeg isn't that bad.
And when it is bad, arm yourself with all the essentials to keeping warm
And then tuck into a crock of French Onion Soup and forget what everyone is complaining about.
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