Why, yes…my onions HAVE been French-ified. Thank you for noticing!
Anyone else love French Onion Soup? Thick beef stock, freshened with Thyme & Basil, crammed full of caramelized onions, topped with crusty bread & melty cheese?
Sadly, French Onion soup isn’t exactly keto-friendly. First – onions. They may be a low glycemic index food, but the sheer volume of onions in a good French Onion soup is going to pack onto any daily carb count.
Second – caramelizing those onions. There are different schools-of-thought on caramelized onions. Some diabetics will experience a blood-sugar spike (thus needing more insulin) when consuming prepared onions, far more of a spike than when eating them raw, so their (diabetics and the nutritionists who advise them) thought is, caramelizing onions concentrates the sugar in the vegetable, recommend DO NOT CONSUME.
The other camp disagrees – using logic: You can’t make more sugar (and therefore, more carbs) than the raw vegetable already has by cooking it. They believe that caramelizing the onions has more to do with portion control than sugar concentration. A cup of raw onions is a lot less vegetable matter than a cup onions that have spent the better part of an hour having their fibers broken down and a portion of their water content removed with the application of heat and friction.
Me? I’m in the portion control camp. It’s easy to overeat the caramelized carby goodness that is onions in their fully broken-down state.
And, let’s face it – French Onion soup is ALL about overeating decadence…
Third – the type of onion. For a good French Onion soup – all the recipes suggest using sweeter onions such Walla Wallas, Mahis, Sweet Spanish, Yellows and Vidalias. Not only are these bred to be huge, they’re modified to be less astringent, milder, and sweeter than their more natural counterparts, such as greens, whites, and shallots. Of course, when you take away some of the sulfurous compounds and force the bulb to create more sugar, you increase the carbs right along with it.
What is it with us humans??? Take a perfectly good plant and muck about with the genetics to favor sweetness. No wonder we’re addicted to sugars.
Fourth – a thick slab of crusty bread topping the individual serving. Bread? ‘Nuff said.
What brought on this daydreaming of French Onion souper-stardom? An overabundance of onions picked up at the local farmer’s market this weekend.
I can’t resist good deals on locally-grown produce!
I had to do something – it would be a sin to bring all these beautiful white orbs into the house and let them rot… So I broke down about half of them, and set to cooking.
I feel the need to apologize to my neighbors – the early stage of caramelizing onions never stays in a single apartment!
Once nicely bronzed, the onions were paired with a good beef stock, thyme, basil, and a generous shot of pepper.
Letting the heat do its thing, turning this pot of stuff into a dinner of legend, I searched for something keto-friendly to top the soup with – bready, but not carby.
I found: these.
I gotta thank Sugar Free Mom for sharing her wonderful recipe for low-carb English Muffins. You struck gold (nut butter) with this one!
I did make a tiny alteration – I switched out the almond milk for half water, and half heavy cream. I simply couldn’t justify buying an entire container of almond milk in what could very well have turned out to be a catastrophe.
My earlier experiment with mug cakes left me cautious, OK???
I needn’t have worried – these were perfect for the soup. They had a distinctive baked-good texture to them, not so much nook & cranny-y like wheat-based English muffins, but denser, like a good cake – and (vitally!) missing the grainy bits that come from ground flax or hemp protein powders.
Once slathered with butter and toasted under the broiler, they didn’t disintegrate when floated on top of the hot broth, held up under the weight of the good provolone cheese I topped the crock with, and even retained their weight and texture after the broiling was completed.
Unlike some wheat-based products I could mention…
Dinner. Was. GOOD.
I even had leftover bread to pair with bacon & eggs in the morning!
I only hope the bacon forgives me for upstaging it’s glorious salty goodness for the bread…