Sunday, October 30, 2016

(Almost) Paleo French Onion Soup

The wet and chilly weather of late led to nostalgia for a steamy bowl of French Onion Soup. 

The toppings would need some tweaking to make a healthier version for my diet. Luckily, a bit of field work and internet research led me to substitutions that might taste good and have the satisfying mouth feel of this soup.

First, thick slices of French baguette float on top to hold the cheese. Good news! Against The Grain now makes a gluten-free baguette available in the frozen section of many local markets. This product met all the criteria for taste, texture and mouth feel.

Next up, the grated cheese. The cheesemonger at Whole Foods said there is no good non-dairy substitute for gruyere
 cheese. He recommended Manchego Sheep Cheese. Sheep eat only grass (grass-fed butter is ok on the paleo diet), and is easier to digest than cow or goat cheese. Plus, it tastes great and has the mouth feel you'd expect in the soup. He was spot on.

Last but not least was non-alcoloic wine, an ingredient in the soup. An internet search led to the Ariel Winery. They make a Chardonnay wine, then remove the alcohol with a cold filtration process. It was available at the local BevMo store. Turns out, the soup base didn’t need the addition of the sweet wine - the onions provided enough sweetness on their own. 

But it was lovely to have a chilled glass of white “wine” to complement the soup. Mission accomplished. Bon appétit!

My Paleo Marin Rating:  3 Persimmons*


2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large yellow onions, ends cut off, peeled, cut into 4ths, then chopped into 1/4" slices (4-5 cups)

4 cups of high-quality beef broth, either homemade or a good stock, such as Stock Options Classic Beef Stock

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste

1 loaf gluten free baguette

5 oz Manchego Sheep Cheese, grated

1 bottle Ariel Chardonnay, optional 


1. Heat the oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and stir with a wooden spoon to coat with oil. Cook the onions over low heat for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. The onions are caramelized and fully flavorful when they have cooked down to about 1 cup and have turned brown (but are not burned).

2. While the soup is cooking, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the baguette into 1/2" slices and toast for 10 - 15 minutes on a baking sheet. Remove when they have dried out and just start to brown around the edges.

3. When the onions have cooked down, add the broth and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan (deglazing). Add the thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Then simmer the soup over medium/low heat for 10 minutes.

4. Fill two large bowls with soup (or 4 ramekins). Add bread slices on top, and sprinkle the grated cheese on top. Put the bowls under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the bread is browned.

Serve immediately.

*MPM Ingredient Rating:
Baguette:  3 Persimmons
Cheese: 5 Persimmons

Wine: 1 Persimmon

For non-dairy hard cheese options, see link here.

#French #onion #soup #glutenfree #againsthegrain #manchego #sheep #cheese #lunch #dinner #comfortfood

Recipe adapted from the Chris Kresser website here.

*My Paleo Marin Rating between 1-5 Persimmons
I try out these recipes so you don't have to (and modify them for Paleo where possible). The rating will reflect my opinion of the final result in terms of taste, ease of preparation, nutrition, and sometimes, cost.

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