Onion Soup for The Cold

This morning I sneezed a lot, and ended up with a runny nose. Actually the symptom have lasted for quite a long time now and I've already paid a visit to a doctor. However, after I drugged all the medications as prescribed, the symptom persists.

Yes, I put chemical substances into my body (and cost myself a fortune) for nothing.

Probably it was resistance because I simply didn't believe chemicals could help. Oh well, isn't it always the way it worked? That was why I so did not want to take any more chemical drugs today. I'd better cook something to help me through this runny nose.

I remembered my housemate, Irna, once made an onion soup when she caught cold. She said it could warm her body and clear phlegm. This sounded like perfection. Besides, I've always wanted to try Jamie Oliver's onion soup recipe. So I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of Allium family. Onion, garlic, shallot and leek got moving into action..

Members of the Allium family, (back row from left to right) yellow onion, red onion, leek, (front row from left to right) shallot, garlic and pearl garlic (also known as single/solo garlic).

Cooking this soup turned out to be harder than I thought. Required a lot of ingredients, time and, of course, the part that I like the least, a lot slicing onions. The lachrymatory-factor gas of onions never failed making my eyes red and teary before.

Actually this problem can be solved with chilling the onions in the fridge for an hour or so before slicing. It'll help to slow the activity of the enzyme which produces the allyl sulfate that is responsible for eye irritation. It is also important to slice onions with sharp knife while standing, keeping the eyes away from the gas radar.

Anyway, I must say this slow cooker was the first non-Indonesian cooking that thrown me upside down. But the taste worth the wait, really. Nothing compares to the sweetness of caramelized onions combined with salt, croutons and bubbly melted cheese. Aside of the slight onion breath, the soup did freshen my body. Warm and happy!

Sweet and salty soup with bubbly cheese and croutons.

Onion Soup
(Adapted from Jamie at Home)

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 red onions (peeled, finely sliced)
  • 3 yellow onions (peeled, finely sliced)
  • 3 shallots (peeled, finely sliced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (bruised then chopped)
  • 6 cloves pearl garlic (buised then chopped)
  • 300 g leek (cut most of the green part, finely sliced)
  • a handful of fresh sage leaves, left some for serving
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • 5 cm cinnamon
  • a pinch of fresh ground nutmeg (can be substitute with 1-2 blades mace)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • a great pinch of fresh ground black peppercorn
  • 1000 ml beef stock
  • 1000 ml chicken stock
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 medium baguette
  • 100 g Gruyère cheese (grated)
  • 100 g Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 8 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Preparation methods:
  1. In a non-stick skillet, heat olive oil then add butter until melted.
  2. Put in red onion, yellow onion, shallot, garlic, pearl garlic, leek, sage, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and black pepper. Put the lid on, cook it down until caramelized in the lowest heat. Stir regularly.
  3. When onions are golden browned, add beef and chicken stock. Put the lid back and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, pre-heat oven 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
  5. Slice baguette into 2 cm thick.
  6. Mixed well crushed garlic with chopped parsley and salted butter, then spread it to the baguette. Bake for for 5 minutes to make croutons.
  7. When the onion is done, divide into 8 bowls (or cups, or ramekins). Put in the croutons and top with grated Gruyère and Parmesan. Add a sage leaf then drip one teaspoon Worcestershire sauce in each bowls.
  8. Bake until cheese melted. Serve while still hot.
Yield 8 serves.

Onion soup for the cold.

Back at Roman times, onion soup were seen as food for poor people, as onions were plentiful and easy to grow. The modern version itself, with croutons and cheese, was originated from the 18th century in French culinary.

Nowadays, a lot of studies have claimed that as little as two servings of onions a week have showed quite some health benefits such as cholesterol, blood pressure levels, diabetic heart disease and served a far more nutritious and vital purpose in a balanced diet. (Read more here.) Although some was not scientifically proven yet, thus this dish became more popular.

This post is also linked to Simple Lives Thursday #37.
The food blog event is hosted by four awesome Iowa bloggers, Diana, Annette, Alicia and Wardeh.

This post is also submitted to Souper Sundays.
Souper Sundays is a weekly food blog event about soup, sammie and salad, hosted by Deb from Kahakai Kitchen.

This post is also linked to I Heart Cooking Club: Happy Days with Jamie.
'This cooking club aims to grow and change with its members and explore other cooks and books in the future.'


  1. Beautiful post and pictures! I hope you feel better :-)

    I have made this soup a few times before and you're right, there are lots of ingredients, so I take shortcuts now: sometimes I don't mix the onions and use only 1 kind and I always put them in my food processor. I only use 1 kind of stock and cheese, etc.

  2. As written, this is a deep, complex, gorgeous soup of dreams!! Seriously beautiful and I adore onion soup especially with an awesome crouton and melty, salty cheese. I can almost taste it!

  3. I'm sorry to hear that you weren't feeling well, but this onion soup, with it's complex list of ingredients, sounds absolutely wonderful! In fact, I'd love to try it myself. Looks gorgeous:)

  4. This soup looks lovely. I hope it helped cure your cold. I've been struggling with one for over a week now so I think I need some of this too!

  5. This gorgeous soup is certain to make you happy and make you feel better. Great pick for IHCC!

    Thanks for sharing it at Souper Sundays this week too. I hope to have you back again soon. ;-)



  6. @Mélodie: I thought using that bunch of ingredients will result a better taste. How could I never thought of the shortcuts before. Thanks!

    @Girlichef: Definitely so true :D

    @Kim: This was an adaptation, but the original Jamie's English Onion Soup recipe is also linked above :)

    @Corina: It did cured me. Now I'm sneezy no more. Get better soon, Corina!

  7. @Deb: I surely will, Deb. Thanks! :)

  8. Ciao ! I guess your soup will heal anything !

  9. Perfect soup for when you are feeling under the weather - hope it worked!

  10. @Natalia, Natashya: I don't know if it can cure malaria, tuberculosis or any serious disease else. But I know it worked really well for the cold. Thanks for visiting :)

  11. wow french onion soup! i'll try to make it :D btw what is sage leaves? i'd never hear it

  12. @Rina: Daun sage itu semacam tanaman bumbu, Salvia officinalis. Biasanya dijual di toko bahan makanan yang menjual sayuran organik. Tersedia juga dalam bentuk kering di botol. Tapi tidak pakai juga tidak apa-apa kok, tidak terlalu signifikan. Selamat mencoba :)

  13. Yes this is a great recipe - when I'm sick though...like now, I'd be avoiding cheese!! I've gone for a simple onion + garlic + potato and liquidised it this time round.

  14. I made it without beef or chicken broth. Progresso has a Portobello soup starter that was perfect! Nothing had to die for my soup and it was easy AND outstanding. My husband didn't have to take any more Dayquil either!