Soup for Colds, Part 3: The Recipes

Taco Soup. Probably one of the most flexible soups ever – you can add meat or not, switch one kind of beans for another, add any number of garnishes, it’s all delicious. And the basics – rich stock, tomatoes, onions, garlic, chiles – are all great cold-fighters. For a meat version. brown about half a pound of ground beef in a large saucepan until thoroughly cooked. Add 1 diced onion, half a diced hot pepper, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 can of cooked beans, rinsed (your choice), and 1 can of stewed tomatoes. Over this sprinkle 1 teaspoon each commercial taco seasoning and chili powder. Stir well, then add 4 cups of your special stock. Simmer for about 15 minutes, then serve with your choice of these garnishes: corn chips, grated cheese, chopped avocado, sour cream, sliced black olives.

Broccoli Soup with Yellow (or Orange) Bell Peppers. Start with 4 cups of your fortified stock. Add 2 cups chopped broccoli, 1 chopped small onion, 1-2 diced garlic cloves. Cook over medium-low heat until the vegetables are very soft, then run this through a blender until smooth; return to saucepan and heat through. Meanwhile, dice one gorgeous yellow (or orange) bell pepper into small bite sizes. Add the peppers just before serving; the smooth/crunchy contrast is delightful and the colors will brighten your day.

Spicy Sweet Potato-Carrot Soup.   They’re not really sweet potatoes, even though we call them that, but for this recipe I want you to use yams, because of their knock-your-socks-off color. Heat a bit of olive oil in your stockpot, and saute 1 chopped medium onion, 1-2 minced garlic cloves, and half of a hot chili pepper or chipotle pepper (see Note) for about 5 minutes. Peel 4 medium yams and 4 carrots and cut into chunks. Add them to the stockpot, along with 4 cups of your fortified stock.Simmer until the vegetables are very soft, 20-30 minutes, then process through a blender until smooth. Garnish with a swirl of sour cream, if desired. Note: Chipotle peppers will give you a rich, complex, smoky taste; if you can take it, pump up the fire by adding a bit of the adobo sauce they are normally packed in.

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