There are few things I love more than a warm bowl of comforting soup on a frigid winter day, but it’s also really easy to run out of ideas. You’ve already made that butternut squash soup, you’ve been eating chili all week, and you can’t eat gobs of cheese in onion soup all the time… but that’s where I come in! This version of French Onion Soup is a little bit more health conscious, vegetarian friendly (or not if you want!), and all together lighter than the traditional kind. I played around with Gruyere Thyme Croutons so that you still get the cheese and bread that you love, without letting it sit like a brick in your stomach. I wasn’t sure if I was the only person who would accept this as a viable alternative, but I served it to a bunch of my girlfriends and they all loved it. Woo!
2 tbsp butter
3 lb onions (about 4 large onions)
1 tbsp flour (optional)
1/3 cup dry sherry
7-8 cups broth (I use vegetable or chicken, but feel free to use beef)
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
7-10 sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper
Start by thinly slicing the onions. Add them to a warm pot with melted butter. Season with a generous pinch of salt and let them cook (medium) low and slow for 40-50 minutes. Make sure you stir every once in a while so the bottom layer doesn’t burn. Add a little oil (or more butter) if they aren’t releasing enough moisture.
Once they are fully translucent and start to caramelize, add the dry sherry.
This will help deglaze the pan, so scrape up all of the bits at the bottom. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until all of the alcohol is cooked off.
Add a few sprigs of thyme and 7-8 cups of broth to the onions. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat down to a simmer. If you like the soup a little thicker, ladle some broth into a separate bowl and whisk 1 tbsp of flour in until dissolved. Return that to the soup. (This step is totally optional.)
While that simmers, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Combine the gruyere cheese, a few more sprigs of thyme, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cut the bread into cubes toss in 2 tbsp of olive oil. Spread them on a foil lined baking sheet without much space in between each one. (I did this so that you don’t end up with a ton of cheese burnt onto the foil. You want that stuff on the bread!) Spread the cheese/thyme/salt/pepper mixture on top of the bread cubes and bake in the oven for about 5 minutes.
Keep an eye on the oven – when they’re golden brown, it’s time to take them out!
And by now, it’s time to put them together!
I let the croutons absorb the broth a little bit before diving in… YUM.
And no, I will NOT judge you if you add more cheese on top. If anything, it looks pretty 🙂
Enjoy and stay warm, everyone!