Times Colonist

Soups to nourish the body and the spirit

Warm up to battle a cold with this traditiona­l remedy

- JULIE VAN ROSENDAAL

A steaming bowl of soup has long been the go-to home remedy for everything from the sniffles to a full-on flu.

Moms and grandmas have for generation­s prescribed their own concoction­s, partly because soup is infinitely adaptable — it can be made out of whatever ingredient­s you have on hand — but also because it warms you up, is easy to eat and digest and provides a nutritiona­l boost.

A dose of vegetables is never a bad thing when you’re trying to make yourself well, but soup is also an effective way to deliver extra fluids — an important factor when you’re sick. Common soup ingredient­s such as garlic and chilies are believed to help clear nasal passages and relieve cold symptoms, and ginger has been prescribed for years as a natural way to settle an upset stomach and ease nausea.

Of course homemade soup has the best effect; there is something to be said for feeling like you’re being taken care of when it’s cold outside and you’re under the weather. If you want smooth, sippable soup to serve in a mug bedside, it’s worth investing in a hand-held immersion blender — a gizmo that allows you to blend soup right in the pot, rather than transfer it in batches to a blender to purée.

These soups will soothe those in need of a little TLC — and anyone looking for a quick, healthy meal.

Chicken Soup with Chickpeas and Ginger

This soup makes great use of turkey or chicken leftovers (shred and add it in place of the chopped chicken thighs), and is divine made with chicken or turkey sausage, squeezed out of its casing and cooked in the pan along with the onion. The addition of chickpeas instead of noodles boosts fibre and protein in the finished soup.

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

1 Tbsp canola or olive oil 1 small onion, chopped 2 stalks celery, chopped 2 carrots, peeled and chopped 1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs or turkey breast, cut into bite-sized pieces 2 to 3 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger 1 19-oz. can chickpeas, drained 4 cups low sodium chicken (or turkey) stock salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Cook the onion for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the chicken and cook for another few minutes, until opaque; add the celery, carrots and bell pepper and cook until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.

Add the chickpeas and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, until thickened slightly and the chicken is cooked through.

Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Garlicky Tomato Soup

Tomatoes deliver a hefty dose of vitamin C — another wellknown remedy for the common cold. If you have overripe, wrinkled or squishy tomatoes around, use them up, so long as they don’t have any bad spots. Don’t worry about the quantity of garlic — it will mellow as it cooks.

To serve, toast slices of bread or baguette, sprinkle with grated cheese and broil for a minute, until the cheese melts; float the cheesy crouton on top of the soup.

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

1 Tbsp canola or olive oil 1 onion, peeled and chopped 1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled 2 lb. ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock 1 14-oz. can puréed tomatoes 2 tsp sugar 1/2 cup milk, half & half or whipping cream (optional)

In a medium-large soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and whole cloves of garlic for 5 to 8 minutes, until soft and starting to turn golden.

Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute or two, then add the stock and puréed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Add the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Remove the soup from the heat and purée in the pot using a hand-held immersion blender, or transfer in batches to a blender to puree until smooth. (If you like, partially blend the soup, leaving some of it chunky.) Blend in the cream. Serve immediatel­y.

 ??  ?? This appetizing chicken soup includes ginger for flavour and chickpeas for added fibre and protein.
This appetizing chicken soup includes ginger for flavour and chickpeas for added fibre and protein.

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