Thursday, 23 December 2010

Anti-flu soup

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
Serves 2-4

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?


Lucy Bridgers said...

Fresh ginger tea often works well for me and my husband gargles with vinegar when he gets a tickly throat.

Hope you're all feeling better soon and in good time for the weekend.

Fiona Beckett said...

Funnily enough I was discussing that with my husband this morning. He says his former father-in-law used to recommend boiling onions in vinegar and gargling with the liquid. (Think I'll stick to soup!) Have a happy Christmas, all of you.

Mary Conroy said...

"Lurgified" - that's one word I'll have to run past my Scottish colleagues! Love the look of the soup. Like you, I've been lucky on the coldnflu front this year - but I usually find that it's in about Feb that the nasty stuff hits, when I'm run-down and my guard is down... Keep up the good work!

Fiona Beckett said...

Seriously I do think food has a role to play in building up our immune system and that ingredients like onion, garlic, ginger and loads of vitamin C really help. Hard to eat healthily over Christmas but I'm trying . . .

Robert said...

Honey, lemon and hot water. Along with soup and plenty of sleep. All are my favourite remedies for the lurgies. I do think flu is nature way to remind us to slow down and enjoy doing nothing. Soup is easy to make as I "fry" onions with butter and little sugar in the microwave which takes about. 5-7 mins depending on quantity. Then adding it to beef bovril stock. And then enjoy.

Fiona Beckett said...

I LOVE honey, lemon and hot water. With a dash of whisky if I'm feeling particularly poorly ;-)

Jess Trethowan said...

Nutmeg and a dash of vinegar in with the honey, lemon and whiskey works a trick.

Fiona Beckett said...

Really? I get the vinegar (well known therapeutic properties) but nutmeg? Shall obviously have to try it - hopefully not on another dose of flu!