here’s to shallots

I ran out of shallots again tonight.  They went in to accompany the onions in Chicken Yakhni Pulao, an epic venture as Indian recipes often are.  Began yesterday with a lamb leg bone to make the spicy stock yaknhi shorba and continued today as I searched all over town to find cassis bark, a relative of cinnamon.  All eventually came together and the product was pretty tasty.  Here’s the instructions if you want to try it.

I’m very fond of shallots.  The little bulbs have a delicate, slightly sweet, but rich flavor that complements the simple bold taste of onions. 

Perhaps my first encounter with them was years ago as I was trying to duplicate “Five Lilly Soup”.  It was a staple at the Lord Fox, our favorite restaurant where we had our wedding reception and always went to celebrate special occasions. The white house, built in 1880, sustained a restaurant since 1920. Operating as “Farmhouse Cupboard”, and operating as a “blind pig” before the repeal of prohibition, it was a favored spot for Sunday dinner for Henry Ford and henchman Harry Bennet, who rode their horses there over from Dearborn.   It finally closed down in 2010 after 90 years of operation as a roadhouse destination. 

Other iterations – with different names – have followed, but the jury is still out whether the latest operation will succeed.  The charm of the old Lord Fox has been washed clean from the last 2 attempts at resurrection and we no longer bother going there.  Please don’t confuse the place with Machus Red Fox, in Bloomfield Hills, still in operation, which was the last place Jimmy Hoffa was seen alive.  But back to the lilies: the five members of the allium family – technically lilies – are all our friends: onions, garlic, green onions, leeks, and shallots.  Makes a nice creamy rich soup, very tasty.

My recollection was that Babe Ruth expressed his fondness for one of the lillies – I think it was scallions (green onions) – which he said were good for a hangover.  Maybe it was shallots.  I’ve been unable to find the quote.  Regardless, all these alliums are very, very good for you and “Five Lilly Soup” is true health food.  Here’s how you make it.

Allium consumption has stupendous health benefits, well documented (1).  So, as you’re laying in the onions, garlic, green onions, and leeks, don’t forget the lowly shallot.  Your taste buds will be glad you didn’t.


1.         Wan Q, Li N, Du L, Zhao R, Yi M, Xu Q, Zhou Y. Allium vegetable consumption and health: An umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes. Food Sci Nutr. 2019 Jul 10;7(8):2451-2470. doi: 10.1002/fsn3.1117.

Published by rike52

I retired from the Rheumatology division of Michigan Medicine end of June '19 after 36 years there. Upon hitting Ann Arbor for the second time (I went to school here) it took me almost 8 months to meet Kathy, 17 months to buy her a house (on Harbal, where we still live), and 37 months to marry her. Kids never came, but we've been blessed with a crowd of colleagues, friends, neighbors and family that continues to grow. Lots of them are going to show up in this log eventually. Stay tuned.

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