Rx for winter colds

I’m home sick. Rather than whining, I thought I’d share my secret weapon, which is adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook’s “Spicy Tomato Soup” recipe.

Start making it the second you feel a cold or sore throat coming on.


Olive oil
1 large white or Vidalia onion, minced
6 – 16 cloves garlic (depends on your fortitude), crushed
1 1/2 – 2 tsp. salt
1 large bunch fresh dill (minus stems), chopped
Tons of black pepper
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
3 oz. (or 1/2 of a small can) tomato paste
1 1/2 – 2 cups water
1 tbsp. honey
2-3 medium fresh tomatoes, diced
3-4 oz. goat cheese (or 2-3 tbsp. sour cream)

First you’re going to sauté the onion, garlic, and dill, with salt and a little pepper, so warm up whatever amount of olive oil you’re comfortable with — I use a lot — over medium heat, and then throw in those ingredients. Stir everything around for 5 to 8 minutes until onions are translucent, then lower heat and cook a bit more, adding oil if necessary, until onions are soft. (You can do this in the same large pot you’ll be using for the soup.)

Next add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water, and honey, with as much pepper as you can stand. If you’re grinding it, turn the top of the grinder at least 20 times. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Taste. If you’re like me, you’ll maniacally add more pepper at this stage. Heat another 20-30 minutes, adding water as necessary — personally, I like this soup very thick — and possibly a little salt. Throw in fresh tomatoes. Simmer another five minutes. Taste and add more salt if desired.

Turn off heat and stir in goat cheese (or sour cream, or yogurt) until dissolved. Taste again, add pepper or more cheese if necessary, then serve with stoned wheat crackers, water table crackers, or whatever you like.

It’s even more flavorful the next day. Sometimes, to Max’s horror, I eat it for breakfast.

Later: A couple people have taken me to task for foisting upon potential cold-sufferers a remedy laden with dairy, that great mucus-generator. I know in my heart that they’re right, but I also know this soup never fails if I eat it early enough.

Other options: Bmarkey, who’s looking for collaborators at his new 70s music site, This Ain’t the Summer of Love, suggests “a quick hit of Airborne, followed with a medium sized glass of this stuff. Once the cold is underway it becomes less effective, but still worthwhile.” Don’t forget Margaret Atwood’s remedy. And here’s a recipe from the City Mouse (also includes cheese), and a milky turmeric concoction recommended by Entertaining Research’s grandma.

Image credit: Rebecca Pollard.


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