Soup for Colds, Step 2: The Process

The basic idea is to make a soup base that is fortified with cold-fighters. Think of it as a “master stock,” something you can then take in any direction. This approach is my own invention (at least I think it is), and while it does involve an extra step, I believe it saves time in the long run. And for you nonmeaters, the same process described here will work just fine with your favorite vegetarian stock.

Start with good-quality chicken (or vegetarian) stock. If it’s store-bought, look for brands that have a minimum of other stuff in them; organic products are probably your best bet. I make my own, starting with a rotisserie chicken (usually from Costco). I strip off the skin, remove the bones, and put all that stuff in a big pot with lots of water; I also scrape up all the juice that collects in the bottom of the supermarket tray and add that too. After a long, slow simmer (half an hour, maybe more; it’s not critical), I strain off and discard all the solids and put the liquid in the refrigerator to cool. Once the excess fat has solidified, I remove that and toss it. Now I have wonderful chicken stock, absolutely full of flavor, essentially for free.

Now add the cold-fighters. To this basic stock, you are now going to add one or more ingredients that we know will help you fight off colds.

Here’s the easy way: Choose your favorite flavors (or try something new), and dump them all in.

  • Onions and leeks — rough chop.
  • Carrots — rough chop, no need to peel
  • Garlic — Smash individual cloves, no need to peel or dice.
  • Peppercorns — crush.
  • Hot chili peppers — Rough chop; remove seeds and white membranes for mild, leave in for spicy.
  • Ginger — slice into rounds, smash, no need to peel. 
  • Rosemary or oregano — as is.

Simmer for about half an hour, occasionally pressing the vegetables with a spoon or potato masher; then strain out and discard the solids.

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