French Onion Soup is a very classic, very easy yet oh so fancy meal that everyone should try making at home at least once in their lives! The most difficult part of the entire ordeal is slicing all the onions! The average batch of this soup requires approximately 3 pounds of sliced onions!
You can use any combination of onions that you choose. Traditionally you would use yellow onions, but I tend to use a combination of yellow, vidalia and white onions. Some recipes call for garlic, while others call for shallot. Personally, I like a combination of both. The most important ingredient (in my opinion) is the beef stock. Without good beef stock, your soup will lack any depth of flavor. However the most important part of actually making the soup in patience! Not only will it take some time to cut all the onions, but you then have the very slowly caramelize all of the aforementioned onions until they real a nice, golden brown color. Yes, you need to do this step. No, you can’t make it happen faster by adding sugar. I apologize ahead of time for the achy “stirred the pot all day” arm you’ll have. You know, assuming you’re as out of shape as I am!
Now for the twist; protein! While making this with a high quality bone broth will definitely add protein, when you eat such small portions, it doesn’t add up to much. Because of this, I sat down and got to thinking. A lot of restaurants make the beef stock for their French Onion Soup from short and spare ribs. Both cuts have very little meat on the bone, but it’s more than just a bare bone that’s already been plucked clean. They are also very fatty cuts, so you get lots of flavor from that. The problem is, us post-op bariatric folks don’t handle high fat content very well. So, what about a lean cut of beef and a pre-packaged bone broth combo? Bingo!
I took large cubes of lean cut, coated them with a combination of flour and beef bouillon, seared them in a frying pan and then tossed them into the soup to cook down. This is a great way to add not only dimension to the flavors but also the textures and nutrition! So without further ado, let’s do it!
French Onion, meet Meat
- 16oz lean beef
- 64oz organic beef bone broth
- 3lbs onions of choice, sliced
- 2 small shallots, minced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried)
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 cube beef bouillon (or one single serving pouch)
- 1 large bay leaf
- Place a large stock pot over medium heat and add 1/2 of your oil. When oil is slightly shimmery (heated), toss in your onions and saute for 5-10 minutes or until translucent. Stir in salt and shallots and reduce heat to low. Leave to cook low and slow, stirring every several minutes.
- While onions continue to cook, place your all purpose flour and bouillon (if using a cube, crush into a powder first) in a zip top bag and shake to combine. Add beef cubes, close zip top and shake vigorously. You’re trying to coat all of your beef cubes evenly.
- Once your onions have begun to caramelize (they will start turning brown), remove them and set them aside.
- Replace pot on the stove, adding the rest of your oil and turning the heat up to high. Add beef cubes and sear on all sides.
- Once beef is seared, return heat to low and add onions back in. Stir and continue cooking until onions reach your desired level of caramelization (I go for a very light golden brown but some like to take it further), stirring every few minutes.
- Once onions have caramelized, add in thyme, bay leaves and stock. Stir well to combine then cover with lid. Make sure your stove is turned down as low as it will go (or transfer to a slow cooker and cook for 4-6 hours on low). Your soup is ready when you can easily shred the beef to about the same size as the onion slices.
- TO SERVE
- You can either serve this soup straight up with nothing on top, or you can go the more traditional route.
- The traditional route would be to fill a crock with soup, take a slice of stale bread (low carb in our case), place it on top of the soup and then cover that in swiss or gryuere cheese. Pop it under the broiler until your cheese is melted, brown and bubbly.
The nutrition provided above is for the soup only. For nutrition including 1/2 slice of low carb bread and 1 slice of 2% milk swiss cheese, see below.