Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sick Fix

My husband came home yesterday miserably ill with a sinus infection, per the Doc, and 24 hours later is still ickily sick. He somehow thought this morning that he would go to work..... right. 1 1/2 hours of sleep, hacking, coughing, and blowing your nose all night, and looking like you have been hit with a mack truck, and you're going to go to work? And your customers will be seeing you this way???

We live 1 block from Walgreen's so I finally told him that, no I would not be going to get him daytime cold remedies (with all those stimulants) and if he wanted to go to work so bad he would need to walk there himself to get them (tough love). He looked at me and blinked a couple of times then decided he would be taking the day off. I suppose he reasoned that if he couldn't manage to drag himself across the street and up one very, very short block, he couldn't really go to work after all.

After plenty of fluids and some sleep today he is looking a little tiny bit better. I decided that I would make him a chicken stock soup of some kind and started scheming. I was inspired by a wonderful soup that I have had at El Cid in Oakhurst, CA. It's very much a gringofied 'Mexican' restaurant, but has an amazing vegetable and meatball soup (Albondigas) on it's menu which I thought would fit the bill. I made a few adaptions from what I think the recipe at the restaurant is and came up with my own recipe:

Sick-Fix Sausage Albondigas Soup:

6 cups regular chicken stock, warmed
1 good drizzle olive oil
1 Lb uncooked sausage of choice (I used Trader Joe's Chicken Asiago Cheese Sausage.. Heaven)
2 large yellow onions, rough chop
5 medium carrots, peeled and chunked
3 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and chunked
1 Lb small baby potatoes, halved (or just pierced with a knife if small)
1/2 large head of green cabbage, rough chop
1 large pinch red pepper flakes
1 large pinch dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Start with a large stock pot on medium heat. Warm up the pot and add a generous drizzle of olive oil inside. Pinch sausage out of the casings (like in this recipe) into small meatballs and directly into the pot. Brown the 'meatballs' on all sides in the pot while warming the stock in another pot or microwave and chopping up all the vegetables. Once meatballs are nicely browned add in the chunked onion, add some salt, and cook until the onions are slightly translucent. Add the potatoes, carrots, zucchini, and cabbage, stir. Pour the warmed chicken stock into the pot until the veggies and meatballs are mostly covered. Add the red pepper flakes (to taste), the oregano, and salt and pepper to taste, and stir again. Let simmer, covered until the onions are transparent and the carrots and potatoes are easily pierced by a spoon (~ 1 hour). Spoon into a big bowl, add some cheese on top if you like (we used Parmesan, yum), a hunk of toasted bread with butter on the side, and enjoy.

We settled down quite happily to bowls of this soup in front of the TV this evening and it sent Chris off to bed at 8:30 quite drowsy, full, and hopefully on-the-mend. The Albondigas adaptation was so good (high praise coming from me as I usually am not so impressed by my own cooking) and I know it will be a frequent repeat in my kitchen in the coming fall and winter months.

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