Chef Blair's Low Salt French Onion Soup

If you are able to use a low salt, low fat beef stock, you definitely should or purchase a low sodium version if available. Modify ingredients based on your dietary requirements and taste buds.

  • 2 lbs. thinly sliced mixed onions - use a mix of red, sweet, white and vidalia if you can.
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of chopped garlic
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. no-salt margarine or butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely diced mushrooms (optional)
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups low salt , home-made beef stock (chicken or veggie stock is OK too)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup dry white wine (or, ½ cup beer and ½ cup dry red wine)
  • ½ tsp. No-Salt (or real salt if your diet allows)
  • ½ tsp. each ground rosemary and dried thyme
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Slice onions into thin, 2-inch long strips. In a large saucepan or stockpot over medium-high heat, melt the butter/margarine and add the olive oil. Add onions, garlic and shallots. Cook, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes. Then, add the diced mushrooms and pepper, and cook another 5 - 10 minutes until the mixture is golden brown and tender. Stir frequently.

Sprinkle the flour into the mixture and stir frequently, cooking another 5-7 minutes until the flour is golden brown. Add beef stock, water and white wine and bring to the boil. Add salt, bay leaf, rosemary and thyme and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. Then, stir in Worcestershire sauce.

If the soup is too strong for your taste, or you wish more broth, just add a ½  to full cup of hot water.

Ladle into crocks, top with croutons and your favourite shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Parmesan for instance) and broil until the cheese is browned and bubbling. Serve immediately.

This soup freezes very well, but probably won’t last too long in the fridge – it lacks the preservative effects of salt. Best to freeze and thaw as required.

Of Soup and Love...

  • Old Spanish proverb: "Of soup and love, the first is best!"
  • Soup can be traced back to almost 6000 BC. The first recorded soup was said to be made from hippopotamus and the hearts of five sparrows.
  • Despite it's French name, vichyssoise (cold potato soup) was first prepared in New York City at the Ritz Carlton Hotel (albeit by French Chef Lois Diat who was born near Vichy, France).
  • The word soup is said to come from the word "sop", which was said to be a stewlike dish where bread was used for sopping up the liquid.
  • Dr. John T. Torrance invented the first condensed soup in 1897 while working as a chemist for the Campbell Soup Company.