Kosher is the Jewish dietary law that prohibits consuming pork, shellfish, and other non-kosher foods. The word “Kosher” is derived from the Hebrew root “Kasher” which means ‘to be pure, proper, or suitable for consumption.’
Those who are new to the world of kosher, or who just want to learn a little more about it, maybe wondering if certain signature dishes can be made kosher – the dish in question being, the beloved french onion soup.
The reasonable answer is yes! However, before we delve into this scrumptious dish and how to make it kosher, let’s discuss these dietary requirements in a little more detail.
What Makes Food Kosher?
Kosher is much more complex than just not being allowed to eat certain foods. It follows Jewish dietary laws, and it is these laws that determine what someone can and can’t eat.
There are also rules on how you can prepare and process food when it comes to keeping kosher.
As complex as it sounds, many kosher alternatives are available today, and many foods in your fridge and pantry are most likely kosher. There are three categories when it comes to kosher food: meat, dairy, and pareve.
Those who follow a kosher diet can eat meat as long as it comes from a kosher animal. These are animals that have split hooves and chew their cud. Cows, goats, and sheep are all kosher as they fall under this category.
However, even though pigs have split hooves, they do not chew their cud, so those following this diet cannot eat pork.
The slaughtering process of these animals is also important to Jewish dietary law. If the animal died naturally, then the meat of that animal is not kosher.
The slaughtering must only be done by a shochet, who is a person that has been trained to butcher animals, adhering to Jewish laws.
Before being cooked, the meat needs to be soaked in order to get rid of any traces of blood that may be lingering. Any cooking apparatus must be kosher and only used for meat.
All dairy products are fine to consume as long as they came from a kosher animal. The equipment and processing used must also be kosher and can’t come into any contact with meat products.
For a dairy product to be considered kosher, it mustn’t have any gelatin or rennet mixed into it. This is an enzyme derived from animals.
Pareve foods involve anything that doesn’t fall under meat or dairy. These are foods such as fish, pasta, coffee, fruits, vegetables, eggs, etc.
These foods are considered natural, so are normally considered kosher. However, if any of these foods have been processed or prepared using the same equipment as dairy or meat, then those items will fall into the meat and dairy category.
The rules don’t end there when it comes to kosher food. There are many other rules that can determine whether a certain food can be consumed or not.
Dairy and meat products can’t be consumed in the same meal or prepared using the same cooking apparatus. You must also wait a certain amount of time after consuming one, before consuming the other.
Fish is kosher as long as it has fins and scales. Fish that don’t have these aren’t considered kosher. Only certain cheeses are kosher, and there will be clear markings on the packaging to state whether it is kosher or not.
Bread and grains are only kosher if the packaging states it is kosher certified. This means that no non-kosher ingredients have been added – if any equipment used to make these items has any grease with animal fat, the item is no longer considered kosher.
Wine must also be made using kosher ingredients and processes, this refers to the harvesting and fermentation of the grapes that make the wine. The process of making the wine, from start to finish, must be completed by practicing Jews.
Ensuring that the food you are eating is kosher can be challenging, as there are several rules the food production process needs to adhere to.
Because of this, there are certain systems in place to verify certain foods. If a food item has been certified as kosher, then there will be a label displaying this. This means that the item has met all the requirements to certify it as kosher.
There are several different labels that will signify foods as kosher. A ‘K’ means that the item has been fully certified as kosher.
If there is a ‘D’ next to the ‘K’, it means that this particular item contains dairy, so it shouldn’t be consumed with any meat products.
Next to the kosher symbol, you may see the word ‘pareve’ or ‘parve’ which means it’s neither meat nor dairy, but still kosher. The same goes for if you see a ‘u’ displayed next to the kosher symbol. If you notice a ‘P’, it means that a particular food is suitable for the Jewish Passover, which has separate laws.
Back To The French Onion Soup
When it comes to french onion soup, is traditionally made with beef stock/broth, and cheese. However, as we’ve learned in this article, beef and dairy are huge no-nos when it comes to kosher cooking.
However, you should not let this deter you from making the beloved french onion soup, as there are several ways you can make it kosher-friendly.
How To Make French Onion Soup Kosher
There are a few ways you can make this soup kosher-friendly, and it’s not as hard as you may think! The first thing you need to do is ditch the beef stock. This can be replaced with vegetable stock, or none at all! The following recipe is fully kosher and mixes it up with a few different ingredients for maximum flavor.
The ingredients you’ll need are as follows: 15 onions, 1/2 cup of butter (kosher certified), basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, 5 tablespoons of flour 1/2 cup of Alfansi Cabernet Sauvignon (kosher wine), and 1/4 cup of Gefen Soy Sauce (kosher).
You’ll also need some slices of toasted bread spread with your kosher butter and sprinkled with some delicious garlic powder.
You can also include some mozzarella cheese, which you’ll be happy to know, is kosher! (just be sure to look for that certification).
The method is as follows: In a large pot, sauté your onions with the butter until they become soft. Add the spices and flour and mix together until combined.
Once this is done, add the wine, soy sauce, and some water to cover it all. Let this mixture simmer for around an hour and a half.
Now, for the best part! You are going to pour some soup into oven-proof bowls and add your bread and cheese on top of the soup. Then, broil these bowls in the oven until the cheese bubbles up and goes brown. At the same time, your bread will crisp up!
Voilà! Your kosher french onion soup is complete. As you’ve added some soy sauce, enough spices, and some wine, you won’t notice the difference with not having beef stock!
This next recipe is another way to make french onion soup kosher-friendly. The method is the same as the above, sauté your onions in butter and so forth.
However, once the flour and spices have been added, you’re going to add some Osem Onion Soup Mix (Kosher certified).
Once you’ve mixed this together with the rest of the ingredients, bring it to a boil and simmer for an hour and a half.
Repeat the above method for broiling with the cheese and bread. This onion mix is a great replacement for the beef stock, and means your soup won’t be lacking in any flavor!
To conclude, it is absolutely possible to make an authentic tasting kosher french onion soup (try saying that in one breath!).
As kosher laws don’t allow you to consume dairy and meat in the same meal, it is very simple to replace the beef stock in this recipe.
You can use veggie stock (as long as it follows kosher guidelines), soy sauce, as we’ve seen above, or a simple kosher onion soup mix!
As long as you use the right kinds of herbs and spices, a kosher french onion soup can taste just as authentic as a traditional one!
Frequently Asked Questions
Meat and dairy can be stored in the same refrigerator as long as they are on separate shelves.
This is because Jewish dietary law states that sharpness and heat (the sharpness of a knife) can cause flavors to travel, but they don’t believe that happens when it comes to the cold.
The recommended time you must wait between consuming meat and dairy is around 6 hours.