I get terrible hangovers. Like, completely debilitating, prostrate on the couch with a bottle of ginger ale and a cold washcloth on my forehead ALL DAY hangovers. I can barely move my finger to change the channel from Selena on TNT to Titanic on USA hangovers. (Nice how TV networks seem to anticipate exactly what I’d want to watch in that state, though. Mean Girls and Dirty Dancing? YES, THANK YOU!) Anyway, this light, spicy soup is perfect to make on a Sunday afternoon when you’re feeling a little feeble after a night out. I can’t promise this soup will wash away the hazy, half-conscious memory of when you threw down the microphone in the middle of karaoke-ing ‘Love Is A Battlefield’ and then did a shot with that weird guy visiting from Toronto (What was that thing on his face? A mole?), but I can promise that it won’t upset your sensitive stomach or make your headache any worse.
I used to advocate greasy food for a hangover, but soup is way better at helping my faithful friend Gatorade with that crucial re-hydration. The spinach and leeks in here add some much-needed vitamins and I like to think that the spicy red pepper flakes are helping the body flush out toxins. I should also mention that the cooking time for this recipe is blissfully short in order to maximize the time you’re going to spend eating it slowly while reclining.
total time: 15-20 minutes
total hands-on time: 15-20 minutes
What you’ll need:
5 cups of broth
2 leeks, chopped
2 or 3 handfuls of fresh spinach or other greens, roughly torn
3 1/2 cups of cooked brown rice (This rice doesn’t look brown, but it is. White rice works fine too. You can use leftover rice from Chinese takeout if you’ve got it. Repurposing is good!)
glug of olive oil
2 tsps fresh chopped garlic
red pepper flakes to taste
powdered ginger to taste
salt and pepper to taste
soy sauce (optional)
poached egg (optional)
What you’ll do:
1. Wash your leeks very well and then chop the white and light green part into rounds; chop again into half moons.
2. In a soup pot, heat your olive oil and then add the garlic. Saute for 45 seconds.
3. Add the leeks and saute for about a minute on medium high, then add the powdered ginger and red pepper flakes.
4. Saute until leeks are soft, about 4 more minutes. Add in the broth and stir.
5. Turn down heat a little lower and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
6. Toss in your torn spinach. Stir and wait until the spinach wilts, then taste the soup. Does the flavor seem a little underwhelming? If so, drizzle in a teensy bit of soy sauce.
7. Let the flavors meld for a little (3-5 minutes) and then stir in the rice. Add a tiny bit of salt and pepper if necessary. Remove from heat and enjoy.
As you can see, I ate mine with a poached egg in it; this is delicious and also adds a little bit of protein, but the soup is good without it, too. Hangover Soup can be made with bok choy, chard or kale in place of the spinach, and onions or even green onions in place of the leeks. Add tofu or chicken if ya want. Make it your own! (If you have the energy, that is. No sudden movements!)
And if you’re a girl who doesn’t dig the drinks, this veggie-and-rice soup is perfect anytime you want a mild and light meal. I’ve enjoyed it post-stomach flu, current cold-and-cough, even just on a dark and stormy night when I wanted a little warmth. This soup makes you feel better, whatever your ailment.