Last week nearly a quarter of the kids in my daughter’s grade were out sick. According to newspaper headlines, 2015 may be the worst cold season in decades. And reports are floating about that the flu vaccine this year may not be as effective as one would hope.
So where does that leave us parents with kiddos down for the count? Beyond delivering cups of tea, perching bedside, and administering meds, what’s a mom to do?
Here’s what: Make soup.
We know that soup heals. Research shows that chicken soup is an anti-inflammatory, can help relieve congestion, and prevent dehydration, a common side effect of feeling crummy. I’d argue that if chicken noodle soup heals, why not Udon Noodle Soup with Soft Egg and Collards? It’s a flavorful elixir that’s packed with all manner of “get better” potential:
Garlic — known for its antibacterial properties and prized by Native Americans as a cough and cold remedy.
Onions–rich in flavonoids and antixoidants, thought to ward off viruses.
Ginger — long used as a treatment for nausea and other GI distress.
Chicken Broth — hyrating, with the potential to prevent dehyration.
Egg — cooked soft, so that it’s easy to get down, while delivering protein and nourishment. Since we’re talking about making soup for someone who is sick, or for little ones, consider opting for pasteurized eggs here, such as Safest Choice.
Sriracha — That’s right, Thai chili sauce, which adds just enough heat to the mix that it may do some good for stuffy sinuses.
So go gather all of the goodies in this recipe, and make soup. It won’t take you much time and when you’re done you’ll have a beautiful bowl of delicious comfort. Feed it to your family when they’re under the weather, or better yet, when they’re wonderfully well.
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped (2 heaping tablespoons)
- 4 ounces ground pork
- 6 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
- 1 star anise (this soup will survive if you don't have it)
- 12 ounces cooked udon noodles (sold in packages in the refrigerated section of the market along with other asian specialties. Weights per package vary by brand)
- 3 large handfuls roughly chopped, stemmed collards or other leafy greens
- 2 to 3 eggs, such as Safest Choice pasteurized eggs
- 2 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
- Set a medium to large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onion and saute until tender.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and pork and cook, stirring regularly, breaking up the pork into crumbly pieces, until cooked through.
- Add the chicken broth, fish sauce, sriracha (adjust amount based on tolerance to spiciness), and star anise. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, then drop heat so it simmers. Simmer gently for about 6 minutes until the ginger, garlic, and pork lightly season the broth (taste it to see).
- While the soup simmers, soft cook the eggs (instructions under Notes below).
- Once the soup has simmered, add the noodles and collard greens and cook until the noodles break apart and are warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes.
- When the eggs are cooked and cool enough to handle, peel them and cut in half.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top each one with 1 or 2 egg halves. Scatter scallions on top and serve immediately, with sriracha on the side, if desired.
To cook the eggs, start by filling a small pot with 1/2 inch of water. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the water to a full boil. Quickly (though gently) set eggs (straight from the fridge) in the pot, add the lid, and immediately set a timer for 6 1/2 minutes. As soon as the timer rings, put pot into the sink and run cold water over the eggs for 30 seconds to stop the cooking.
I am proud to be a Brand Ambassador for Safest Choice Eggs. As such, I was compensated for this post.
Reference: The Essential Guide to Healthy Healing Foods, by Victoria Shanta Retelny, RD, LDN (Alpha, 2011)
A little heads up that I’m part of a group of fellow health-minded food writers who make up the Recipe Redux. Every month or two, I write a post inspired by a Redux theme. This month, it was all about flavoring food with smoke and spice. Here’s what some of the others cooked up: