the food: Soup of the Week! Couscous Soup
I ran across a thread on Serious Eats "You might be a foodie if..." and got pretty tickled by it. Don't get me wrong, I find the term "foodie" as annoying as the next guy. But the suggestions from SE readers ring true. I even have my own to offer to the bunch:
"You might be a foodie if...upon finding out your houseguest is sick with the flu your first thought is about the soup you are going to heal him with."
This is the soup I ended up making. Not chicken noodle but still warm and nourishing. I'm not sure that it healed him but it was the first thing he'd eaten all day, and I like to think it helped a little bit. I added a swirl of pesto to the leftovers and served it to us non-sickies, too. It's a good tasting soup and could easily be bulked up with some greens and tomatoes, but I really appreciated the simplicity of just couscous and broth. It was just what sick food is supposed to be- comforting, easy on the stomach, not too complex, with natural ingredients to get you feeling better.
I'm in no way suggesting meds are a bad thing. Personally, I don't take medicine very often. If I have a fever (or a stomach bug, or a sore throat), I try my best to let it run its course rather than forcing it away with drugs. Having said that, I get a little panicky if I run out of Imitrex. When I need medication, I'm glad it is there. All I'm suggesting is that (sometimes) food can heal too if you give it a chance. And even if you don't believe that, this soup tastes a lot better than NyQuil.
Besides, it's always good to have a stand-by sick food in your repertoire. This soup is so easy to make a sick person could probably even manage to make their own. But love is the secret ingredient (it's true, people), so if that's the case make sure you put plenty of that in there too. Taste and season until it's prefect. Take the time to get it right, even if it is just for you.
Healing Couscous Soup
adapted from 101cookbooks
4 cups vegetable broth + 3 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (pepper eases sick tums and relives pain)
2-6 garlic cloves, minced (garlic helps boost the immune system)
1 cup couscous*
1 teaspoon Italian herbs (throw in some parsley for antioxidants)
salt & pepper
In a large pot, heat the broth, water, oil, garlic, and pepper. When it comes to a boil, stir in the couscous, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand 5 minutes, then uncover and stir. Taste soup and add salt and pepper as you see fit.
*Quinoa would be a great substitute here and add much needed protein in the mix. I went with couscous because it is a little easier to digest. If you use quinoa, adjust your cooking time to about 15 minutes.
By the way, I realize I said no more Soup of the Week posts. I stand by that, but this one was too good to forget, especially as those early spring colds roll around. But starting next week...no soup for you!