Friday, January 8, 2016

Caramelized Onion and Barley Soup

Every now and then I'll treat myself and order French Onion Soup at a restaurant. I love the broth, but the melted cheese is my favorite part, without a doubt. I love when they use so much cheese that it melts all over the outside of the crock - you can't leave that cheese there! 
But let's be honest, it's not the healthiest soup. The soup I made a few weeks ago brings all the flavor of that rich French Onion broth even though it has a chicken stock base. And instead of a hunk of bread and lots of melted cheese, the barley adds some texture, flavor, and is good for you. 
This recipe was adapted from an onion soup I made a few years ago. I added a few things for a richer flavor and turned it into a healthy soup to satisfy the French Onion cravings without the guilt. 

Caramelized Onion and Barley Soup

  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp light olive oil
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 c dry white wine
  • 6 c low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 c barley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot
  • Add the onions and a pinch of sugar (low to medium heat) and cook 30-45 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until they are a deep golden brown color. Be careful not to fry them - if they start to crisp at all, turn down your heat. 
  • Once the onions are completely caramelized, add the wine. Stir, scraping up all of the brown bits. 
  • Add the thyme, broth, salt, pepper (to taste) and barley. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, 30 minutes. 
  • Remove the lid and continue to simmer on low for 30 minutes to allow the broth to reduce slightly. 

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