My ultimate comfort food is French Onion soup. Nutritionally speaking, there isn’t much there aside from a lot of sodium and a whole bunch of cheese. I like to feel better about eating it by telling myself that my comfort food of choice could be a lot less healthy.
It has been a dreary May (at least for this past week), so the first thing I wanted was French Onion Soup. I have not attempted to make this within the last, I don’t know, 10+ years? This usually only enters my diet at restaurants, when I purchase sub-par frozen versions, or get the BEST CUP OF F.O. SOUP EVER MADE at the House of France at Christmas on the Prado (or December NIghts for those of you new to San Diego). Seriously, best ever. I have decided this is mostly because it is not very heavy, the onions aren’t completely caramelized (they are still a light caramel color instead of a dark brown), and they have a few interesting flavors that seem a little more authentic (Herbs de Provence? No clue). I tried to emulate that in this recipe. It is getting pretty close! I am not sure what else I could add, aside from maybe a few more spices, let it cook for a longer period of time, or…I am not sure. But regardless if it tasted exactly like the soup from the House of France, it was good, and completely satisfied my “Dreary Weather Blues.”
French Onion Soup (With Italian Style Breadcrumbs)
- 1/4 Cup (half stick) of butter
- 3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 2 (Quart) Containers of Beef Broth
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 tsp Pepper
- 1 tsp Thyme, dried
- 1 bag Italian Style Breadsticks
- 1 Bag Shredded Swiss & Gruyere
On medium-high heat, add butter to a large pan, and once melted, add the thinly sliced onions. Cook until they are a nice caramel color (about 15-20 minutes). Add minced garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper and beef broth. Let come to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes (or longer if you have the time, the longer it simmers, the more robust flavor).
In the meantime, while the onions are caramelizing and/or the soup simmers, make your croutons. Put your oven on to pre-heat at 375. Slice breadsticks into 1 inch thick pieces and put onto a baking sheet. Place in oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until they are just starting to get crunchy.
Once soup and croutons are done, remove bay leaves (if you can find them!), fill a bowl with soup, top with croutons and then shredded gruyere/swiss mix, and put in the broiler for a few minutes, until cheese is melted and gets the signature “french onion” bubbly look.
My dietitian friend of mine, we’ll just call her Rachael, has been having stomach issues for the past two years. After going to several doctors, her final diagnosis was IBS, which is usually the “we can’t find anything definitively wrong with you, so we’ll call it IBS so you stop showing up in our office.” Usually the treatment for IBS includes having a balanced diet, exercise and stress management. She did a bit of research on the Low FODMAP diet and after trying it for a few days, her symptoms finally went away and she felt “normal” again.
Since IBS is a very (very) common complaint and diagnosis, we gave the LowFODMAP diet a test run in my house a few months back. I found it very difficult to prepare meals for, because everything I use in almost all of my dishes were on the “no-no” list: ONIONS, GARLIC, WHEAT, LACTOSE, and many forms of FRUCTOSE (many fruits as well as high fructose corn syrup). For those suffering from abdominal distress and pain, making a few slight dietary changes though doesn’t seem to be an issue.
One of my standard meals I make on an almost weekly basis is quiche. It is my “clean out the fridge” meal that is packed with veggies and I always have the standard ingredients. I also can whip up a crust in less than 5 minutes in my kitchen aid (Using this recipe from William’s Sonoma, but omitting the sugar). Quiche also happens to have an abundance of onions, garlic, wheat and lactose in it (well, mine does any way). I decided to attempt to make a pie crust out of quinoa, since wheat and wheat flour was not allowed.
And to my dismay, it actually turned out pretty good! I was surprised by how much I liked it.
Since I was doing things completely out of the box, I went all out and added some bacon, and used half hard boiled eggs and half raw eggs in the mix (normal quiche recipes don’t use hard boiled eggs)…and it turned out just fine!
So, here is what I did:
Quinoa Crust Quiche
- 1 heaping cup of cooked quinoa
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients well and mash along the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie pan. Bake for about 10 minutes. Leave the oven on, you’ll be using it again real soon.
- 3 strips of bacon, crumbled and cooked
- 2 slices of swiss cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 big ole’ zucchini, shredded with a grater
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 2 tomatoes (enough to cover the top of the pie)
- 1 oz goat cheese
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk (because of the FODMAPS diet, I used Lactaid)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
On top of the baked crust, add bacon and swiss cheese. Cook the zucchini, basil and baby spinach for a few minutes in a pan (I used the same pan that I cooked the bacon in, just drained some of the bacon fat). Add cooked zucchini, basil and spinach to the pie. Mix together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Pour over the bacon, swiss cheese, zucchini, basil and spinach. Top with tomatoes and goat cheese. Pop it in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the quiche has set.
Serve along side a simple salad of greens mixed with equal parts Balsamic Glaze and Meyer Lemon Olive Oil with freshly ground sea salt and pepper.