Feed a Cold

It seems we all have colds this week. Mine is of the cement-filled head variety. Other coworkers sound like Tom Waits. When I’m sick, my body usually tells me what it needs to eat to feel better. Sometimes it’s a box of Wheat Thins, sometimes a pint of lemon sorbet. This time it’s brothy soup and anything flavored with ginger. The other night I made this soup, which seemed to do the trick—or maybe it was my after-dinner drink.

Restorative Mushroom and Ginger Soup
Makes 4 servings
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 medium shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
4 scallions, white and light green parts chopped, dark green parts thinly slices on the bias
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced.
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 cups water
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/4 ounce dried mushrooms, such as porcini or cremini
Soy sauce
White pepper
4 loosely packed cups baby spinach

1. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Add the shiitake mushrooms and cook over high heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
2. In the same pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the chopped scallions, the ginger and the garlic and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the water, chicken stock and dried mushrooms and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve and return to the saucepan. Stir in the reserved shiitakes and season with soy sauce and white pepper. Bring the soup to a simmer and ladle into 4 bowls. Add one cup of spinach to each bowl. Garnish with the sliced scallions and serve immediately.

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