I’m sick and have been for two days. The kind of sick where you can barely lift your head off the pillow. Achy body, chills, headache, stomach pain. And when you’ve got a flu virus, there are only two things that heal: a hot bath and a home-cooked meal.

A hot bath is easy enough, but a home-cooked meal is a little harder to come by. The first night I made the English classic,  jacket potatoes–baked potatoes topped with doctored  up  beans and grated cheddar cheese. But this morning I thought I’d make carrot soup, based on Mom’s soup formula in The Perfect Recipe for Having People Over. I have always loved it because it’s so simple.

Though I  hadn’t shopped in days, I had everything I needed to make it. Peel, chop, sauté the carrots and onions in oil, add a bit of sugar, butter and sliced garlic. Add the garam masala (or curry powder). Add the broth. Simmer, puree, add milk and you have this healthy, but truly filling homemade soup. Andy and I enjoyed it tonight with a grilled cheese on homemade bread that Sharon and Anthony gave us.

This soup, along with several hot baths, peppermint tea, my couch and the 3rd series of Breaking Bad streaming on Netflix, I’d say I’m well and truly on the mend.

Pureed Carrot Soup with Garam Masala

Yields 6 to 7 cups, serving 4 as a main course and 6 to 8 as a starter

2 tablespoons olive oil (I used some chili-infused olive oil I had on hand which gave the soup a nice kick!)
1 large onion, cut into large dice
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into approximate 1-inch pieces (4 to 5 cups)
1 tablespoon butter
1 large pinch sugar
3 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced
2 tablespoons garam masala (or curry powder)
3 cups chicken broth, cartoned, canned or homemade
1 to 1 1/2 cups half and half, whole milk, or evaporated milk
Salt and ground black pepper

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large deep sauté pan until shimmering. Add carrots and then onions; saute, stirring very little at first and more frequently at the end, until vegetables start to turn golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add butter, sugar, and garlic; continue to cook until all vegetables are a rich spotty caramel color, about 10 minutes longer. Add garam masala; continue to sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute longer. Add broth; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce to low and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender; puree until very smooth, 30 seconds to a minute. Return to sauté pan (or a soup pot if pan is too shallow for milk addition); add enough milk so that mixture is thin enough to be soup, yet thick enough to float optional garnish. Heat through, ladle into small bowls, serve with bread and a salad.