Sprightly Soups (and Salted Margarita Bars) to Help You Feel Better

Gingery chicken soup, slow cooker harissa stew and tequila-spiked lime bars are sure to cure whatever ails you.

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By Melissa Clark

How does it go — feed a cold, starve a fever? Vice versa? I can never remember, but since I’m a feeder at heart, I’ll simmer up a pot of soup at the very first sniffle. I’ve been making a lot of soup this spring as a nasty cold/sore-throat thing makes the rounds, striking down all in its germy path.

Jewish penicillin (sometimes called chicken soup) is my ancestral cure-all, so naturally Ali Slagle’s chicken rice soup with tomatoes and ginger (above) caught my eye. The combination of chicken and rice is as comforting as can be, but here, it’s perked up with fried ginger, fish sauce, lime and sesame oil for a zippy soup reminiscent of tom yum. Make a pot and call me in the morning.

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Chicken Rice Soup With Tomatoes and Ginger

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There are plenty of other effective, soothing options. Ham El-Waylly’s latest contribution to the soup pharmacopoeia is a colorful vegetable tortilla soup. In it, he uses tortilla chips two ways: pulverized to add body to the broth, and sprinkled on top for a satisfying crunch. He also adds caramelized red cabbage for an earthy sweetness, and plenty of lime juice for a bracing acidity.

In the set-it-and-forget-it realm of soup recipes, Sarah DiGregorio has two new slow-cooker recipes. The first, an Italian wedding soup, uses a clever hack. Instead of making meatballs from scratch, she calls for rolling loose Italian sausage into balls. For something even heartier, try her harissa bean and couscous stew. It has a generous dose of roasted red peppers, and is topped with crunchy salted almonds.

I’m convinced any of these soups would work just as well to prevent a malady as to cure one. A soup a day keeps the doctor away, right?

How about something sweet to cheer any sagging spirits? I suggest Vaughn Vreeland’s salted margarita bars, which have loads of energizing vitamin C from all that fresh lime juice, plus tequila and Grand Marnier to evoke the cocktail.

Naturally, you’ll want to subscribe for all these recipes and more. If you need any technical help, the brilliant people at [email protected] are there for you. And I’m at [email protected].

My Tea Recipe That Really Revives

I’ll leave you with my recipe for homemade ginger-lemon tea, which always makes me feel better, even when I’m healthy. For each mug, grate about a half-inch worth from your ginger root (no need to peel it), then place it in a tea ball with a strip of lemon zest, a whole clove and two green cardamom pods. Steep in boiling water for 10 minutes, then add a squeeze of fresh lemon and honey to taste. Get well soon!

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