French onion soup is a classic dish that originated in France. It's a rich and flavorful soup made primarily from onions, often served with a slice of toasted bread and melted cheese on top. The origins of French onion soup can be traced back to the ancient Roman times, where onions were plentiful and known for their health benefits. Over the centuries, the soup transitioned from a humble peasant dish to a popular choice in French bistros and restaurants.
To adapt this soup to the Weight Watchers diet, you can make a few mindful changes. Instead of using sugar, opt for a small amount of olive oil and butter to caramelize the onions. This will reduce saturated fat content while still achieving a rich flavor. Use 2 slices of whole wheat bread, toasted, instead of the typical 3 to 6 slices. Choose a lean, low-sodium beef broth, or use a concentrated beef broth diluted with water to make sure it's totally degreased. These modifications will help make the soup more aligned with Weight Watchers' principles while preserving the essence of the dish's comforting flavors.
Why you should try this recipe
There are several reasons why you should give this recipe a try. Firstly, it's one of the most renowned soups globally, with a rich history and a delightful combination of flavors. What's even better is that this classic soup can be easily transformed and adjusted to fit the Weight Watchers program. This soup is not only delicious but is cost-effective and quick to prepare, making it a practical choice for busy weeknights. With the potential to adapt to dietary needs and its worldwide popularity, trying this soup is a wonderful culinary experience that offers both tradition and innovation in one bowl.
Creating Sweet and Savory Magic: Caramelizing Onions Without Added Sugar
Caramelization is a cooking process that involves browning the natural sugars in foods, like onions, through the application of heat. When onions are caramelized, their sugars break down and undergo a Maillard reaction, resulting in a rich, sweet, and deep flavor, along with a characteristic brown color. It's a crucial step in creating the distinct taste of onion soup.
You can achieve caramelization without adding sugar by using a cooking method that relies solely on the natural sugars present in the onions. Here's how you can do it:
1. Choose the Right Onions: Sweeter varieties of onions, such as yellow or Vidalia onions, tend to caramelize more easily due to their higher sugar content.
2. Low and Slow Cooking: Slice the onions thinly and cook them over low to medium-low heat. This gradual cooking process allows the natural sugars to slowly break down and caramelize without needing added sugar.
3. Stirring and Patience: Frequent stirring is essential to prevent the onions from burning. As the onions soften, they will release moisture and sugars, which will gradually brown as the moisture evaporates. This process takes time, so be patient.
4. Use a Touch of Fat: While not necessary, a small amount of oil or butter can help prevent the onions from sticking to the pan and aid in the caramelization process.
By following these steps, you can achieve richly caramelized onions without the need for added sugar.
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Preparation time: 15 minutes
· 4 cups beef broth, 1 l.
· 500 g white onions.
· 1 teaspoon light butter
· 1 teaspoon olive oil
· 1 teaspoon cornstarch
· 8 slices of artisanal bread, 100 g.
· ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 60 g.
· ¼ cup shredded Emmental cheese, 30 g. (combine both cheeses)
Instructions for making Onion Soup
1. Start by slicing the white onions into rounds.
2. Take a pot and melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Once melted, introduce the sliced onions and cook them covered on low heat for approximately 15 minutes until they become caramelized. Remember to stir occasionally.
3. Mix the cornstarch with the beef broth, then pour this mixture over the caramelized onions. Let everything simmer together for an additional 10 minutes, maintaining medium heat.
4. To serve, carefully ladle a portion of the prepared mixture into oven-safe bowls. Arrange 2-3 slices of bread on top of the soup and cover them with a tablespoon of the shredded cheese blend.
5. Place the soup-filled bowls in the oven and broil them for around 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and achieves a slight golden hue.
Variations and substitutions
1. Instead of beef broth, consider using low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth.
2. Enhance the soup's nutritional value by adding lean protein like diced cooked chicken. It can provide a satisfying element and boost the protein content, making the soup more filling.
3. While using mozzarella and a touch of Emmental cheese is a good choice, you can also explore alternatives like grated Parmesan or crumbled feta for unique flavor profiles with reduced saturated fat.
4. Replace traditional French bread with whole-grain croutons or a few whole-grain crackers to add a crunchy texture while minimizing the carb content.
5. Experiment with adding fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary to the soup for an aromatic twist that complements the rich flavors of the onions and cheese.
Tips and Tricks Section for Making Onion Soup
1. Prepare a larger batch of soup and freeze it for later. Just remember to add the bread when you're ready to enjoy it—avoid freezing the bread to maintain its texture.
2. Opt for canned broth for a quicker preparation. This can save you time and still deliver a flavorful base for your soup.
3. Consider adding a splash of dry white wine to the onions while caramelizing. The wine can intensify the savory notes and create a more complex flavor profile. Just be sure to allow the alcohol to evaporate before proceeding with the recipe.
- Start by slicing the white onions into rounds.
- Take a pot and melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Once melted, introduce the sliced onions and cook them covered on low heat for approximately 15 minutes until they become caramelized. Remember to stir occasionally.
- Mix the cornstarch with the beef broth, then pour this mixture over the caramelized onions. Let everything simmer together for an additional 10 minutes, maintaining medium heat.
- To construct the soup, carefully ladle a portion of the prepared mixture into oven-safe bowls. Arrange 2-3 slices of bread on top of the soup and cover them with a tablespoon of the blended cheeses.
- Place the soup-filled bowls in the oven and broil them for around 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and achieves a slight golden hue.