An onion is technically a vegetable. So why does it seem like it doesn’t count? If someone asks you to name your favorite veggie, it’s not like onions jump to the top of the list. It’s almost like they are in an entirely different category. Maybe it’s due to the fact that onions usually play the supporting role, quietly adding flavor to a dish without overshadowing the main event. Maybe it’s because garlic seems to get all the credit. But onions are super healthy too. They have cholesterol lowering benefits just like garlic. And raw onions have even been shown to protect against cancer, lower blood sugar and support bone health (if you want to read more, take a look at whfoods.com). That’s why I love dishes that give the modest onion a turn in the spotlight.
And, honestly, does french onion soup even need this much of an introduction? I didn’t think so. But at least now you can feel even better devouring a warm bowl of oniony bliss. And it doesn’t hurt to have a good reason to temporarily ignore the ridiculous amounts of oozing cheese added on top.
French Onion Soup or Soupe a l’Oignon
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking and smittenkitchen.com
5-6 (or maybe even 7) yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon turbinado sugar (to help the onions brown)
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour (whole wheat pastry flour worked fine too)
8 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 Not-Beef bouillon cube (Edward and Sons brand has no MSG or trans fat)
Salt and pepper to taste
Thickly sliced multi-grain bread
Grated gruyere or gouda
Freshly grated black pepper
In a heavy-bottomed stock pot, heat butter and oil then add onions and cook slowly, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover, raise heat to medium, add salt and sugar and continue to cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are a deep, golden brown. Add the flour 1 tablespoon at a time and stir for three minutes more. Add the vegetable stock, wine and bouillon cube and simmer partially covered for 30-40 minutes. Adjust seasonings, if needed.
Before serving, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pour warm soup into oven-proof bowls or individual soup tureens. Add 1 or 2 slices of multi-grain bread and flip over so both sides get immersed completely in the broth. Add plenty of freshly grated gruyere or gouda. Bake for 20 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned on top. Sprinkle with black pepper. Serve immediately.