03 February, 2009

Onion and Garlic Soup Has Saved My Sanity


I have had this gawd-awful cough the last few weeks that I can't seem to shake, the kind that seems to settle in for the winter, and even when I'm not hacking up a lung, I end up making these little
*ack ack* noises throughout the day to clear my throat. Very annoying, to myself and to those who must live under the same roof with me. Probably more annoying than the cough itself.

It's lucky I work from home; I remember when I did work in an office how I wanted to throttle the woman in the cubicle next to me who was constantly snuffling back her allergy-related post-nasal drip. It wasn't her fault, she couldn't help it, but I still would gladly have booted her and her box of tissue out the window if I could.

I won't go to the doctor for antibiotics--I'm kinda stubborn like that and don't like taking them unnecessarily so as not to build up a resistance to them. I want them to work, and work well, when I actually do need them, like I have in the past when traveling.

So I'm trying to follow the usual advice of drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest. Still, I've ended up sleeping on the bed in my office a few times because I didn't want to bother Ted during the night. I've tried a few over-the-counter medications to alleviate the cough and even mixed up a good old-fashioned mustard plaster
to break up the congestion. And while the plaster felt wonderfully warm, it wasn't doing the trick.

And then I thought to whip up a batch of onion and garlic soup; both onion and garlic are said to have many health benefits, including combating respiratory infections. So I browsed the Internet until I found one I liked in particular. I've been sipping it since yesterday, slept pretty well last night, and today woke up feeling the best I've felt in weeks--greatly reduced wheeziness and congestion, almost no coughing.

It's too early to tell, but I've got my fingers crossed this will do the trick. (Although from the amount I'm consuming, I'm sure I have this onion-and-garlic cloud hovering around me, and that's probably more annoying than Vick's Vaporub.)

What old-fashioned remedies would you recommend?

Roasted Onion and Garlic Soup

I made a few modifications to the recipe below. I used bottled lemon juice instead of fresh because when it came down to it last night I couldn't be bothered to zest and juice a fresh lemon. I also skipped the shallots because I was feeling cheap--$2.79 for 3 dinky little bulbs--and just added a yellow onion in its place. I know, I know, it's not as sweet or mild, but I figured with all the spices in this soup I probably wouldn't notice the difference. And because I'm temporarily giving up dairy products until I can clear my lungs, I only put a small dollop of cream on top. All in all, it's a very spicy soup mix that really cleans out your sinuses and warms the chest.

4 to 6 large red onions, quartered
Cloves from 2 large heads of garlic, peeled
2 shallots, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Essence, recipe follows
6 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup cream


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the onions, garlic, and shallots in a roasting pan just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add the olive oil and Essence and toss to coat. Roast until well browned, about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the pan from the oven and set over 2 burners on medium-low heat. Add 2 cups of chicken stock, sage, thyme and salt. Cook for 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to incorporate any of the caramelized bits from the bottom.

Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a large pot over medium-low heat. Add remaining 4 cups chicken stock and balsamic vinegar, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and stir in cream. Serve with French bread.

ESSENCE Creole Seasoning

I think you can buy a commerical version of this, but I just mixed up a batch in the kitchen and stored the extra away for later use. I cut the salt down to 1 tablespoon Celtic Sea Salt.

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

Recipe modified from "New New Orleans Cooking" by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William and Morrow, 1993. Illustration Arrangement by Teresa Saia.


modernemama said...

Thanks! I'm gonna try this 'cos no other "cure" has done anything so far and if I don't get rid of this frikkin' (pause to cough, again) cold soon I'm moving south.
Working in my pjs again....

Joanne said...

'Course, my mom just told me to go away because I was reeking of garlic and onion. Now I need to find a cure for the "cure".

LadyCiani said...

Eat fresh parsley with your garlic and onion (eat some before and after for best results). There's a reason you get served parsley as a garnish in restaurants!

Those "Breath Assure" pills were made of parsley oil, back in the day.

Karen Anne said...

To get rid of post nasal drip and the annoying constant throat clearing or coughing, fork out for Mucinex. It works, which is probably why they soak you on the price.

Shane said...

Hey, what is wrong with the smell of vaporub!? I love that stuff! :)

Joanne said...

Karen Anne--I caught a BOGO sale on Mucinex, and was popping them all week. My coughing reduced somewhat, at least for the first few hours, but(pardon me here everyone) the mucous in my nose and throat was like glue, I couldn't cough anything up even though I felt some loosening, and I found myself restless and unable to sleep. Googled it and found there are a large number of potential unpleasant side effects, and many people are having problems with the stuff. Bummer. The commercials looked so promising; I guess it just doesn't work for everyone.

LadyCiani--If you saw the amount of garlic I've been eating this week...

Shane and Casey--I do like holding up the jar of Vaporub to my nose and inhaling, but feel self-conscious about wearing it in public. :-)

I'm feeling a little better, woke up at five this morning all wheezy, but had some soup and went back to bed for a while. I just wish Spring would hurry up and get here so I can give the whole house a good airing out.

Karen Anne said...

GF, Oops, It works for me, sorry if folks are having trouble with it. The directions say to drink a lot of water to make it work right.

Still any excuse to eat garlic has to be good;-)

Joanne said...

Karen Anne--I think it's like any medication, works better for some but not for others. I'm glad it helps you. :-)

Anonymous said...

Timely post since I too have this hacking cough thingy! It's nice to know I'm in good company. I used up plenty of sick hours, but eventually had to venture back in the office even though "the hack" was still present. Lessening each day so there is hope.


Joanne said...

Misery loves company--it's nice to know that I'm not alone with this hacking winter cough.

Anonymous said...

I am definitely going to try this soup. I can't seem to find the lemon in the recipe, though.