Thursday, 23 December 2010
Having sailed through the winter so far without a cold I've fallen victim to one just before Christmas. Isn't that always the way? The only consolation is I'm not alone. Practically everyone I know is coughing and spluttering including most of my family.
In a vain attempt to ward it off I made what I hoped would be a healthgiving onion soup. It didn't work in the end but it made me feel a lot better at the time and - who knows - I might have been more lurgified still without it.
It's basically a French onion soup with extra garlic and without the croutons and cheese which makes it lighter though you can obviously add those at the end if you have time and/or are feeling more robust. I also used French onions - one of those strings of Brittany ones - which I think improved the taste and texture as they're not as wet as English ones though obviously you're not going to set out on the ice looking for an onion man if you're feeling like death.
Onions, like garlic, have anti-bacterial compounds and are a recognised method of treating colds and flu according to this site although getting any definitive answer on health out of the internet is always an uphill struggle. But I seem to remember reading it elsewhere.
Onion, garlic and thyme soup
5-6 medium-sized onions, preferably French
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried thyme (optional)
3 tbsp olive oil
About 15g butter
800ml vegetable, chicken or beef stock
Salt and (preferably) white pepper though if you're stuffed up you may not be able to tell the difference
Peel and finely slice the onions and garlic. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or casserole, tip in the onions, garlic and thyme, stir and cook uncovered over a low heat for about 20-25 minutes until the onions have completely collapsed and begun to colour. (It will depend on the onions and how fast you cook them how brown they get but it's better to keep the heat low. Having said that I cooked them in the top oven of the Aga.) Pour over the stock, bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in warm bowls, adding some grated cheese if you like. To make it more of a meal, top with baked bread slices and grated cheese and return to the oven or melt under the grill.
I'm sure I've asked you this before but do you have any favourite ways of dealing with lurgies?