Monday, November 29, 2010

French Onion and Mushroom Soup

From the looks of it, our lovely readers might think I only eat soups.  I swear, I do eat other things - but soup has just felt so right for my soul lately.  I'm not making Campbell's just add a can of water soups either.  These are hearty, filling, healthy soups.  Perfect for freezing.  Perfect for taking to work and eating at lunch.  Clearly a meal on it's own.  And unlike many of the canned soups, I know that my soups aren't filled with preservatives or sodium.

Many people focus on limiting fat and calories in their diets, but sodium is a surprising health concern as well.  That and it makes me bloated.  As I get older, I noticed my body react more and more to excess salt in my diet. The day after a salt filled meal?  Forget about form fitting.

French Onion and Mushroom Soup with Gruyere toasts:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 cups vertically sliced yellow onion (about 2 pounds)
  • 5 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 10 ounces whole mushrooms)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Toasts:
  • 12 (1/2-inch-thick) slices French bread baguette, toasted (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled Gorgonzola
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
To begin, heat oil in a large a large pan and caramelize the onions.  The recipe from Cooking Light calls for the use of a Dutch Oven, but I don't have one of those, so I made due with, oh, only about three pans.  

It's an onion soup, so there are a LOT of onions to be caramelized.  Needless to say, I had to properly vent the kitchen so that my entire apartment didn't reek of onions.  Go ahead and caramelize these slowly.  It will take some time to get them to a nice golden brown.  Cook on high until tender, then reduce heat and slowly cook 40 minutes or so.

While these are browning up, chop up your mushrooms.  The recipe calls for Shiitake mushrooms, but I am on a budget, so I used regular old mushrooms.  Once your onions are set, throw in the mushrooms and saute until tender.  

Still in garlic and thyme and keep on saute-ing.... at this point, your kitchen probably smells amazing.  My entire studio did at this point... and it wouldn't be a bad thing, until I woke up at 3 am.  Let me tell you how those same smells are not as appetizing in the middle of the night.

After a few minutes of saute-ing, add the white wine.  I went cheap, cheap, cheap on the wine.  I didn't think there was a need for anything fancy.  Maybe there was.  Maybe this soup would have been even tastier with better wine and fancier mushrooms.... you let me know.

If you're using a frying pan, transfer to a saucepan and add in the broth.  I used more than the recipe called for because the broth didn't seem to be enough.  You could also add a cup of water if you only have just enough broth.  Simmer on medium low for about 30 minutes - be sure to stir frequently.

Shred up some Gruyère cheese and slice some French baguette.  The soup can be finished in two ways - either top the baguette with cheese and put in the oven to brown and melt the cheese.  Or you could toast the baguette in the toaster, top with cheese and melt in the microwave.  

Either way, ladle some soup into a bowl and top with baguette and cheese and serve.

Isn't the thyme a nice touch?

*Note - this is a light recipe, so while it's flavorful and delicious, it's not as rich as French Onion soups you might otherwise make.  

1 comment:

  1. Did your apartment smell like onions for days? that is one negative that I have heard about making French Onion Soup.