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—Photo by Sarah Boyum

Best Bites: Rioja’s French Onion Consommé

This lightened up take on the classic soup is perfect for late winter.

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Not long ago, Rioja chef de cuisine Tim Kuklinski had a hankering for French onion soup. It was a Sunday—his day off—so he ventured to the grocery store to gather the ingredients for the classic dish and returned to his kitchen. But he got sidetracked that evening, and his French onion soup craving was left unfulfilled.

The idea was still floating around in his head when he was at Rioja later that week, so he started playing around. The resulting dish—a French onion consommé swimming with ravioli—offers traditional flavor, but feels lighter and more refined.

The base of Kuklinski’s dish is a clear, flavorful consommé (a clarified broth) made with sherry wine and caramelized onions. The broth’s incredible translucence comes from a clarification process called a raft, in which egg whites are used to leach out fats, oils, and impurities. After the egg white raft is skimmed away, what’s left behind is clear and rich consommé.

Kuklinski adds four caramelized onion–stuffed ravioli to each bowl of soup, then garnishes the dish with fresh thyme and a baked crisp of cave-aged Gruyère. His updated concoction is just as heart-warming as the original, and it hits the spot on February’s not-quite-spring days.

1431 Larimer St., 303-820-2282

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