Stylish Notes on Food :: The lighter side of French onion soup

We adore onion soup. I do not adore the calories. But I've been slightly obsessed with this perfect winter food for the past week - ever since my friend Sara brought it up one day in passing. And since then I've not been able to shake it from my mind. I griped to her that I loved it but not the fact that it's laden in fat and calories. So I decided I could do something to lighten it up, without sacrificing flavor. I decided to use Tyler Florence's recipe as my base and adapt it from there.

1/4 cup of butter or olive oil
5 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, mincws
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of a full-bodied red wine - or more, to taste
2 quarts beef broth
1 baguette, sliced
1/4 - 1/2 pound grated Gruyere (depending on number of people served)
(I cut the butter in half and ditched the flour as a thickening agent.)

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes.  Add the broth and the wine and let simmer on low heat for at least 20 minutes so that the broth can absorb all the flavors. Before serving discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Because neither myself nor my children are fans of the soggy bread and because I wanted to scale back on the cheese, I toasted the bread in the oven under the broiler so that the sides turned lightly brown - just a couple of minutes. I then pulled the toasts out, turned them over and coated them - not too heavily - with the Gruyere. I arranged the Gruyere on a large plate for serving. The toasts can then be placed on top of the soup or served on the side for dunking. 

The soup was every bit as good as I had imagined it to be - if not better!
I do hope you'll try it!


*All images property of Jessica Gordon Ryan and The Entertaining House
Images may be used by permission only and linked back to this site.