Home Cold and Flu Remedy…French (Basque) Penicillin Soup

In the following video, I demonstrate how to make an amazing root vegetable soup.  This soup settles well on a weak stomach and warms a person from the inside out, helping to bust a fever. (Recipe Below Origin Story)

Origin Story

Years ago, I moved to a new location for a teaching job.  I was living in a truck camper in the back of my ’68 Chevy in a RV park while I was waiting for the house we were purchasing to close.  I had never been so sick in my life and being alone while my wife was trying to sell our other home wasn’t much encouragement for she was over 500 miles away.  Sometimes being sick, just knowing you have support from your love ones is a peaceful anchor.  Now, with modern technology and video calls,  that sense of connectivity is so much more encouraging.

Seventeen years ago … while I struggled to arrive at work.  I slept through my alarm clock for over 3 hours. I finally made it in to work to meet a shocked office admininstration as they thought they hired a complete flake until they saw the color of my skin and the already newly developing sweat patches on my dress shirt that had drenched both pits, my chest behind the tie and down my back.  I was sent into the counseling office and told to go home, but I had grades to post and while feverishly working, literally with fever, I posted my grades and lesson plans for the substitute who came in for the missing teacher.

Best things kept… We have kept Judy’s original copy of the recipe, she shared with us almost 2 decades ago.

Judy, the amazing, compassionate school counselor, and the heroine of this story made for me a soup she stated went back in her family.  I was so grateful for her kindness, being at a new job, without my best friend, and having no ability to cook for myself.  She presented me a full tub of soup and sent me home for the weekend.  I would warm the soup and eat wondering if my stomach would let me.  It settled well and warmed my already chilled to the bone body from the inside out.

Now, each time the flu gets serious which it did recently for my lovely wife. My son and I made a run to the store, bought the best ingredients we could find and returned to make the French Penicillin soup for the woman who holds our home together.  Krista jumped in to help when she could and returned to the couch when she couldn’t stand any more.

Currently, she is feeling better and the soup was her first meal on her stomach after days of queasy sickness.  She contributes the soup as a major help in getting over the flu.  Perhaps, it was the merely the timing and her body was beginning to win the battle. Then again without anything on her stomach to nourish her, I find it difficult to think she could continue to get better without substance, and that is what this amazing soup provides.  There are other penicillin soup recipes out there on the web and variations can be made.  Try making a soup for your ill family member, friend, neighbor or stranger today.  It could help those who just need a little support during the cold  & flu season.

Recipe: French Basque Penicillin Soup

  • 1 1/2 cups dried garbanzo beans (soaked overnight and drained)
  • 2 large onions chopped
  • 2 shallots chopped
  • 1 medium turnip (cubed 1/2 in. or 2 cm)
  • 4 medium carrots chopped
  • 4 medium potatoes (unpeeled and cubed 1/2 in. or 2 cm)
  • 2 leeks (white part only chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper (julienne)
  • 1 green bell pepper (julienne)
  • 1 1/2 lbs or boneless skinless chicken breast cut into ¾ in. pieches
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (or more to taste for spicier soup)
  • Chicken Stock (or broth if stock is not available)
  • ½ small cabbage head, shredded
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place first 13 ingredients in a large soup pan and add chicken stock or broth to cover. Heat to boiling.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until veggies are tender, about 25 minutes.

Add cabbage and wine. Simmer covered 15 to 20 minutes

Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Let us know your “cure all” soup recipe. Or, how this soup does for you and your loved ones in the comments below.

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