I’m sick. That cold I’ve been avoiding has finally found me and taken up shop, turning my nose into a virtual faucet and my throat into sandpaper. Don’t feel too bad for me. I brought it on myself. In my never ending struggle to quit smoking, I messed up this past Saturday while at an award ceremony / gig for Mr.P’s (the boyfriend) band. Needless to say, because we both work in the same scene, there were plenty of people there that I know, many of them being smokers. I was weak, and participated in the ritual more out of habit, than out of need.
Here’s why I’m sick though. Having checked in my coat, and knowing that once your coat is checked, you’re not getting it back until the end of the evening unless you’re willing to pay the 25 SEK coat check fee again (about 3 EUR or $4), I went outside without my coat. Now this is Sweden…in winter. We’ve discussed this before. Sweden is cold in the winter. This particular evening, while milder than a few nights prior, was still a crisp -9 celsius (about 15 fahrenheit), and I was spending extended amounts of time outdoors, as I participated in the very thing I am now on my fifth attempt since January 1st, of quitting. So as mentioned, I probably deserve this.
I always, ALWAYS know when it’s a real cold, versus just a “lack of sleep / not up to par” day. It starts with a sore throat and a tight chest. I felt this way yesterday. I was hoping it was just because I didn’t sleep well, but I knew. Deep down, I knew this was going to be a doozy. Nonetheless, I still went to sword fighting lessons. Oh.. I haven’t told you about sword fighting lessons yet? I will.. not to worry. Anyway, I went to sword fighting lessons, and thought that would be a good way to fight it off. Mind over matter, and the likes. Nope. By the time I made it home, it was too late. It was on. My cold was winning. And what’s worse, is Mr.P, has now gone away for a few days for business and left me to fend for myself in the kitchen.
Hands down the worst part about being alone when you’re sick, is meal preparation. So I peeled myself out of bed and into the kitchen to see what I could whip up to save my poor leaky nose, achy body, congested lungs and sandpaper throat.
Soup. Yes…soup, the perfect thing for a cold. Warm, comforting, filling. I was always partial to Chunky soups as a kid. It’s not any different now. I had a look around the fridge and cupboards to see what we had on hand. I wanted to make something that I could eat for the next 3 days so all I have to do is crawl out of bed, heat up the soup, and quickly run to the couch, get under the blankets, and be warm. Something that would be filling enough to live off of for the day, and obviously, something healthy with healing properties so I can get back to business.
As mentioned previously, I don’t generally measure stuff out, so I will do my best here for you. This will either feed approximately 4 people, or yourself as you nestle in for a good three day run of misery. Feel free to substitute anything here, really to your own liking, or for whatever you have on hand. We all know you’re not going to run to the grocery store for zucchini if all you have are peppers in the fridge and I know my friend Kerstin who may be reading this is allergic to celery. Sub what you like or have on hand, or what won’t kill you.
Nip It In The Bud Super Soup
1-2 carrots peeled and sliced
1-2 stalks of celery chopped
1/2 of a zucchini chopped
2 spring onions chopped finely, including stems
4 cloves of garlic very thinly sliced (I’m talking , “Good Fellas” sliced with a razor blade thin cut. Use the thinnest setting on a mandolin if you have one)
1 TBSP grated ginger
1 400g can of chickpeas (drained)
1 400g can of kidney beans (drained)
1 400g can of whole or chopped / crushed tomatoes
500 ml of prepared chicken stock (bullion or Fond Du Chef as pictured)
1 bag of Uncle Ben’s brown boil-in-bag rice
2 TBSP cooking oil of choice (I used Canola for the veggies, coconut for the salmon)
1 piece of salmon (not lax… )
Seasonings: ginger, coriander, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder to taste
Go ahead and get that boil-in-bag rice started by following the directions on the box, as well as the chicken flavored broth. The rice should take about 10 minutes (cooking time…longer to get the water to a boil) and the stock and the broth even less. Those Fond Du Chef things are AMAZING. While that’s boiling, and once you’ve chopped and sliced and grated the first seven ingredients, pour one TBSP of your cooking oil into the pan (I used Canola), and start to sauté everything except for the spring onion, ginger and garlic, for about 5 minutes. After a little color, add in the spring onion, ginger and garlic. You’ll notice in the photo above, I have no ginger :-(. I was out, but you definitely want to put this amazing superfood in this soup if you have it on hand.
Once there’s just a slight brown to the veggies, put them, as well as your chicken broth into a large pot over medium heat and allow to simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Make sure the pot is large enough. You have a lot of stuff to fit in there.
In the meantime, in your already warmed pan, put the additional TBSP of your oil in there. I chose coconut oil for this part. Place your piece of salmon in there and start to sauté. It’s ok to break it up a bit. You’ll want it only slightly browned and very soft and lightly cooked. Here’s where my cheesesteak skills come in handy….
You need to break apart the salmon with a plastic spatula into small chunks and pieces. Much like that of a REAL Philly Cheesesteak.
Now I’m assuming we can all multi-task here, and I promise this is not difficult. While your salmon is cooking in the pan, and after you’ve let the veggies simmer in the chicken broth for a bit, it’s time to add the crushed or whole tomatoes and beans to the big pot. I chose whole tomatoes this time, and just gave them a bit of a smash with my plastic spatula once they were in the pot, to break them up a bit. So tomatoes in first, with a good mix, and then your pre-rinsed beans. You can use different beans or less beans, but I don’t recommend using more than two 400g cans of beans, unless you plan on doubling the whole recipe. After the beans and the tomatoes, comes your rice, which should definitely be done by now. Just cut open the boil-in-bag, and dump the rice in the pot.
Now, it’s time for the herbs and lemon. Squeeze one half of the lemon into the pot, being careful of the seeds. If someone gets a seed in their soup, just remind them that you were sick when you made it and they’re lucky you cooked at all ;-). 1/2 tsp. of the following: ginger powder, garlic powder, paprika, coriander, and a full tsp. of black crushed pepper. Throw in the cheesesteak style salmon and give it all good stir. Cover and allow to simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.
You’ll notice the liquids dissolving. If you prefer your soup a little more runny, feel free to add more water and play around with the consistency. As mentioned, I love a good hearty soup, so for me, the less liquid, the better, while still being a soup.
Beautiful colors, “a soup that eats like a meal” (as the old Chunky Soup campaign goes), super low in calories, and full of healthy goodness to wipe away that cold in no time.
Just before serving, squeeze in the second half of the lemon, and a pinch more of all of your seasonings, but a little heavier on the fresh ground pepper into the pot, and give another big stir. For serving, you can add a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream on top. Hey. you’re sick AND you just cooked enough soup to last you 3 days. You’ve earned it.
Feel better, gesudheit (it means “good health” in German, not “bless you”, although you do say it after someone sneezes and it makes WAY more sense than “bless you”), and as always, let me know your thoughts on my Nip It In The Bud Super Soup.