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Bon Appetit - Just Plain Good Food

I’ll Take that with Onions

Published February 10th, 2014 in Bon Appetit - Just Plain Good Food, HN4U Blog

We are now in the dead of winter. With the cold comes the rampage of flu and environmental allergies. The cold made me think of soup, and you can’t make real soup without garlic and onions. I also thought about all the client calls about sinus infections, colds and the approach of hay fever season. It is never too late to build ones immune system and these foods are great at both building immune response and fighting allergies.

Our homes have been shut down tight for winter, with that comes increases in dust mites, pet dander, and black mold. These are triggers for respiratory infections along with low vitamin D. By increasing the amount of onions, garlic and vitamin C rich foods in our diets, we improve our ability to fight off wee beasties, reduce inflammation, and build strong immune systems.

The Onions and other members of its family are cultivated worldwide and has been in use for health care as well as culinary for a millennium. The Romans believed onions could cure them of whatever ailed them. Historically, onions have been used in the treatment of asthma due to its ability to inhibit the production of compounds that cause bronchial spasms and mucus production. Believed to be valuable, onions have been used as currency and given as wedding gifts throughout history.

Vitamin C, fiber, biotin, folate, chromium, vitamin K, and thiamin are found in members of the onion family along with potent anti-cancer phytochemicals like quercetin, phenolic acid, sterols, pectin, volatile-oils, sulfur compounds and the enzyme alliinase. Are all present in this health packed food. It is the enzyme release and it’s conversion to trans-S-cystine that stimulates crying by the cook.

While not as highly valued as a medicinal as garlic, onions have been widely used because they possess the same properties. Like garlic, studies have shown onion extracts decrease blood sugar and, lipid levels, prevent clots, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation (onions are one of the only foods that contain prostaglandin E1), improve asthma and allergies and retard viruses by improving the immune system. The blood sugar lowering effects of onions have been clinically found to be comparable to that of prescription drugs tolbutamide and phenformin, commonly given to type 2 diabetics. Onions have been found to help the liver process glucose more efficiently by increasing the life span of insulin and increasing the natural secretion of insulin.

Do not feed onions to dogs, especially Australian Shepherds as they create life threatening anemia. Onions may trigger migraines in some people.

No matter how you fix them, the onion family is just plain good for you and a food that your cells will know what to do with.

Classic French Onion Soup

Sweet with the flavor of long-simmered onions, this French onion soup also takes a savory note from reduced beef stock, bay, black peppercorns and thyme.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon clarified organic butter
  • 1 pound yellow onions, peeled and sliced thin
  • 3/4 pound red onions, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1/4 pound shallots, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined Celtic sea salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 quarts beef stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 slices day-old sourdough bread
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded


  1. Melt the tallow in a heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat, then stir in onions and shallots. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in salt. Cover and sweat the alliums, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent – about 10 minutes.
  2. While the alliums sweat, tie bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns together in a piece of cheesecloth or a small muslin bag, and add it to the pot. Stir in beef stock and wine, then simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes or until the stock is reduced by 1/3.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  4. Ladle into oven-proof soup bowls, top with a piece of day-old sourdough bread and 1 ounce shredded Gruyere cheese. Cover and bake for 20 minutes, then serve.

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Build Your Health with real foods.