Something has been going around my office, church and social circles, and it’s not a funny Facebook meme. Everyone seems to be coming down with a strange cold-flu hybrid, an exhausting, hacking, miserable illness that takes a good week to work its way out.
When you’re sick, the last thing you might feel like doing is cooking. But if you happen to be the healthy one — or if, like me, you’ve already recovered from the plague and are ready to help your sniffling family or even your coworkers — one of these soups should do the trick.
Chicken soup
1. Chicken Noodle Soup
This is the soup I made two weeks ago when I was guzzling NyQuil at night and curling up with tea during the day. Alton Brown uses chicken stock (homemade if you’ve got it), a few savory elements (onion, celery, garlic) and relatively quick-cooking egg noodles for a quick and easy pot of healing goodness. It’s so simple, I’ll repost the recipe right here.
Note: If you don’t want to cook the noodles in advance, they cook right in the broth if you let it simmer for about 6-8 minutes.

  • 4 cups chicken stock, home-made or store-bought
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 ounces dried egg noodles, cooked to al dente
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Lemon halves, for serving

Bring stock to boil for 2 minutes in a large, non-reactive stockpot with lid on, over high heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic. Lower heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Add noodles and cook 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and add herbs and salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with lemon halves and add squeeze of lemon juice if desired.
2. Kabocha Squash and Celery Root Soup with maple syrup and browned butter
Squash celery root soup
My all-time favorite soup tome is Anna Thomas’ “Love Soup,” a 2009 James Beard Award-winning cookbook with some 160 recipes for green soups, bean soups, squash purees and more.
This lovely blend can be altered by using butternut or acorn instead of kabocha squash, and carrots in place of turnips. The brown butter gives it a wonderful depth, and an immersion blender makes quick work of the finishing steps.
3. Basic Green Soup
green-soupOne more from Anna Thomas — and this one takes awhile, but it’s worth it. Her green soups begin with caramelized onions, which themselves can take 30-45 minutes to fully brown into a sweet “onion jam.”
In the meantime, stem and chop a few bunches of greens, like dinosaur (lacinato) kale, spinach and chard. Cook arborio rice to give the soup heft, and finish with a swirl of fresh “green” olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
4. Pasta Soup with Potatoes and Pancetta

photo by Kate Whitaker

photo by Kate Whitaker


Recipe writer Gino D’Acampo puts this soup under the heading “Craving Comfort” on the blog Leite’s Culinaria, and it’s certainly hearty enough to warrant the name.
“Many people would never associate pasta and potato, but in this case, you’re really going to have to trust me,” she writes. “This recipe has been in my family for more than 50 years, and considering that so far there’ve been two chefs in the family, it must be fantastico!”
Pancetta is important in this one; find it at Whole Foods or specialty markets.
5. Hearty Tomato Soup with Lemon and Rosemary
EI1109_Tomato_Soup_lg
I love this rich tomato soup from Giada De Laurentiis for several reasons. First, the addition of cannellini beans pureed into the soup gives it both texture and hidden protein.
Second, the creme fraiche and lemon zest give it a zing! of tanginess, offsetting the sweetness of the tomatoes. And I love how streamlined it is, starting with veggies I always have around in winter (onion, carrot, garlic) and building with pantry staples, like crushed tomatoes.
What are your favorite comfort soups?  We hope you stay well this flu season.

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