At this time of year, we’re all trying to be a bit more healthy. Classic French recipes aren’t usually known for their health benefits – all that cheese and bread isn’t part of our January diet! – but with a few tweaks here and there, even decadent dishes can be made lighter.
For this recipe, we ditched the lettuce and reworked a warming winter dish – a lighter, healthier French Onion Soup. Here’s what you’ll need to serve 4 people:
For the soup
4 large onions
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
300ml dry white wine
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp vegetable bouillon
For the topping
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 long slices from a baguette
50g Gruyere, grated
Cut the onions into very thin slices. Heat a large pan, then add the oil, onions, thyme sprigs and bay leaves, seasoning with a little salt. Cook on a high heat for 5 minutes, stirring all the time. As the onions start to soften, turn down the heat and cook slowly for 35 minutes, uncovered. Stir regularly until the onions have reduced right down and are soft.
While the onions are cooking, pour the wine into a small pan, bring it to the boil then let it bubble for 30 seconds and set aside. When your onions are very soft, turn up the heat so they caramelise and cook for 15 minutes, stirring across the bottom of the pan to mix everything together. When the onions are brown and sticky, stir in the flour and then gradually add the wine, stirring everything together.
Pour 1.2 litres of cold water into your pan and add the bouillon, slowing bringing to the boil. Remove any froth from the surface and simmer for 15 minutes. Now it’s time to make the topping!
Heat your oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas 6. Mix the garlic and oil together, brush over the bread slices then cut into cubes. Place on a baking tray and pop in the oven for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
When your soup is ready, remove the herbs and ladle into bowls, scattering a few croutons on top. Sprinkle on the Gruyere, add a grinding of fresh pepper and serve.
A quick and easy French recipe made just a bit healthier – done!
Image by Anathea Utley on Flickr – https://www.flickr.com/photos/anathea/3293913092
Image by stu_spivack on Flickr – https://www.flickr.com/photos/stuart_spivack/2768486952