Got a stuffy nose, sore throat or a major cold? I've got the soup for you.
Everyone knows chicken soup is curative when it comes to being under the weather, but I created this soup to have some extra knockout power. Hopefully, it will help you get back to normal as much as it has helped me.
It is just shy of amazing how therapeutic a serving of hot broth can be. If you add some flavorful vegetables to it, all the better. Normally, I start most soups with a saute of onions, celery or peppers and some carrot slices, but my recent bout with a sore throat, cough and congestion called for drastic action.
I didn't exactly feel like heading to the grocery store, and this was definitely a stay home kind of thing so I had to rely on what I had on hand. A large bulb of ginger gave me inspiration to create a soup similar to the Chinese Soup of Good Fortune. I needed some to get rid of this bug that had invaded my life. Heaven help me if my husband gets the stuff — he'll revert to a somewhat helpless state requiring extreme care. I have to get well.
The vegetable drawer of our fridge had plenty of things to enlighten my chicken broth. (Chicken stock or broth is something you never want to be without.) Stock is like liquid gold for soups, stews and a variety of seasonal dishes. I know a notable Fort Worth, Texas, chef who even uses it as the liquid in his dough for peach empanadas, but that's a story for peach season.
I had stock in the freezer just begging to be used. The boxed or canned low-sodium varieties work well. The point is stock is a versatile ingredient and worth “stocking” up on. This soup calls for some steeping and simmering. I sliced up that ginger into large slices about 1/8 inch thick and dropped them into the heated stock to steep. I put the lid on and let all that potent ginger infuse itself into the stock. This added a comforting and lovely warming ambience to the simple broth.
I could have stopped with that, but added some slices of little red and yellow peppers, sliced leek and carrot along. I turned the heat to the lowest setting and let the soup simmer under the lid. Meanwhile, I prepared some fronds of baby bok choy to add at the end. Once the carrots had softened after about a half-hour, I added the bok choy.
In minutes my soup was ready for the final touch: lemon zest and fresh-squeezed juice.
Altogether, I had a soothing comforting soup in about an hour and enjoyed the aroma and anticipation the whole time. I could even appreciate it despite my stuffy nose, which went away for a while after a bowl of this steamy delicious soup. It's a good thing I made plenty of it as this cold is trying to hang on.
The soup may not cure me, but it is fortification for the battle. Oh, I almost forgot, you don't have to have a cold to enjoy this soup. This is a real warm-you-up soup for a cold winter day or a winter cold. With or without the sniffles, you can make your own version depending on what you have on hand. Chicken broth, either canned or your own, is essential and a must to have on hand throughout the winter. Here, I infused the broth with ginger before adding slices of leek, carrot and peppers. It is finished with bok choy and lemon zest and juice. It is a super sniffle-buster and proof that food can be medicine.
Sherrel's Get Well Soup
1 quart chicken stock or broth
1 large bulb of ginger (About 3 inches x 1 or 1½ inches sliced ¼ to 1/8-inch thick)
1 leek cleaned and sliced including as much of top as possible
1 or 2 carrots sliced
4 or 5 small red peppers
baby bok choy or spinach
Zest and juice of one lemon (Use Meyer lemons when you can get them.)
• Place stock in a large sauce pan or soup kettle. (It is best to use a nonreactive pan such as stainless steel or enamel coated pan for this soup.) Heat over medium heat.
• Prepare ginger and add to heated stock. Cover and let steep for 20 to 30 minutes. Prepare leek, carrots and peppers. Slice leek and place slices in bowl of cold water to let any dirt and debris settle out of slices while ginger steeps in stock.
• After steeping, remove ginger and return stock to heat. Add sliced vegetables, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 20 to 25 minutes until carrots are cooked through. Add halved or quartered and simmer an additional 2 to 3 minutes just until bok choy brightens. Stir in lemon zest and juice. Serve immediately.
• Notes: If using spinach, piping hot soup is enough to cook it sufficiently so pop a handful into your soup bowl, (I use baby spinach leaves) then ladle the hot soup over the top of the leaves. The spinach will be tender crisp and bring some extra special nutrients to your meal. This spinach in the bowl technique works well with bean soups and even chili.
• Source: Sherrel Jones