Eat, Fast And Live Longer. A 5-2 Fast Day Meal Idea Under 300 Calories. Japanese Inspired French Onion Soup With Oven Baked Parmesan Crisps.

Japanese Inspired French Onion Soup With Miso, Mirin and Soy

At first glance French Onion Soup may seem to be an incongruous choice for a 5-2 fast day meal idea. Visions of deep bowls filled with caramelised  onions simmered in a rich beef broth and thick gratinéed  croutons of bubbling gruyere cheese first spring to mind. Followed by the word associations delicious and ‘calorie laden’. In this version, however, the croutons are replaced with crisp discs of parmesan cheese, and the beef broth with a lighter miso paste infused stock. Cleverly cutting down on the crucial calorie count whilst  adding  “umami’ or an incredible ‘je ne sais quoi’ depth of flavour to the soup. 

I first encountered Japanese style classical French haute cuisine  many years ago at a wonderful kaiseki restaurant tucked away in the narrow cobbled lane ways of Kyoto. Delicious. Understated. Memorable. These days one of my family’s favourite cooler weather meals is a Japanese style Boeuf Bourgignon which replaces some of the more traditional French ingredients with shitake mushrooms, leek,  miso paste, soy and mirin. Today’s fast day version of French Onion Soup, deeply flavoured with a miso enriched broth, borrows key elements from that dish. At just 215 calories per serve one bowl provides an incredibly satisfying fast day meal.

Japanese Inspired French Onion Soup With Oven Baked Parmesan Crisps
Serves 6 (215 calories per serve, 173 calories per bowl of soup plus 42 calories per parmesan crisp) )

2 tablespoons olive oil (240 calories)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (102 calories)
6 large (1 kg) brown onions, thinly sliced (378 calories)
1 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced (12 calories)
4 sprigs thyme (4 calories)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (52 calories)
1 tablespoon flour (28 calories)
2 tablespoons red or white miso paste (60 calories)
6 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock (120 calories)
2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine) (35 calories)
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (8 calories)
freshly ground black pepper

MELT the butter and oil together in the bottom of a heavy based Le Creuset style pot over moderately low heat.
ADD onions, garlic, thyme and salt. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and golden.
ADD sugar and cook, stirring, for a further ten minutes until onions are nicely caramelised.
MEANWHILE place the miso paste in a small bowl. Add one ladle of the hot  chicken stock. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
SPRINKLE the flour over the caramelised onions and cook stirring continuously until all the flour has been incorporated.
ADD the hot chicken stock. Stir well to combine, then add the miso paste mixture in a steady steam stirring continuously.
GENTLY simmer the soup for 15 minutes. Remove the sprigs of thyme.Season with mirin, soy and freshly ground pepper.
LADLE one and a half cups of soup into bowls and garnish each with a parmesan crisp.

Parmesan Crisps

Parmesan Crisps
Makes 6 rounds  (42 calories per round)

50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated (250 calories)

PREHEAT oven to 200C. Line a large oven tray with baking paper.
USING a 6cm food presentation ring or cookie cutter as a guide, place six heaped tablespoons of the grated parmesan on the prepared oven tray. Lightly pat down each round of grated cheese.
BAKE for 3 to 5 minutes in a hot oven until the crisps are light golden brown.
REMOVE from oven and allow to firm up a little before transferring the crisps to a wire rack to cool completely.

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6 Responses to Eat, Fast And Live Longer. A 5-2 Fast Day Meal Idea Under 300 Calories. Japanese Inspired French Onion Soup With Oven Baked Parmesan Crisps.

  1. saucygander says:

    This sounds gorgeous! I definitely want to make this. Have you posted the Japanese boeuf bourguignon recipe, or have plans to post it?

  2. Tracey says:

    You had me at Parmesan crisps. I love French onion soup but I hate the soggy bread on top. I’m going to try this. Be well, Tracey@whatsfordinnerdoc

    • I’m with you. If I am using bread it has to be a crisp crouton. The parmesan worked really well with this but I am wondering what the texture of a gruyere crisp would be like.

      • Tracey says:

        I think it may be too moist to form a crisp. Beside Parmesan crisps are delish so no need to improvise. Post it if you try a Gruyere crisp. Now I’m curious.

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