Winter Warmer – Chicken Soup for your Body, Mind and Soul
We have all grown up with the knowledge that chicken soup is good for winter wellness. So I decided to research this further and find out the true health benefits of chicken soup and share a recipe with you. Let’s face it, ready-made and canned soups are too easy to come by, the recipe book has long since been relegated to the back of the cupboard.
I found this article and recipe in NY Times called The Science of Chicken Soup. Read the full article here.
The writer explores whether chicken soup really does have medicinal properties as a home-remedy for cold and flu.
Hot chicken soup helps reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms by clearing clogged airways, and the nourishing broth increases hydration and will give you more energy. It seems too that chicken soup also improves the function of the hair-like cilia in the nose that prevent the contagions from entering your body. The trick is to add plenty of vegetables, including onion and garlic, for extra healing power.
I believe that chicken soup may actually be a better choice than cough and cold medicines.
Whether this is scientifically proven or not, I am sure that the soothing nature of chicken soup will be good for rejuventating your body, mind and soul.
Hot Chicken Soup Recipe
One large Soup Pot
- chicken pieces – eg. three leg quarters (legs and thighs)
- 2 tablespoons
- 4 stalks celery – diced (reserve one stalk)
- 2 jalapenos – diced (or more)
- 2 medium sized onions – diced
- 3 large carrots – diced (reserve one carrot)
- 2+ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2+ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- 1 teaspoon+ red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 tablespoons of FRESH rosemary, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 4-6 whole ‘cloves’ of allspice
- 2 large bay leaves – fresh or dried
- 6-8 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons of ‘better than bouillon’ chicken flavored paste (optional)
- 4 stalks of scallions – diced and added at the end into your serving bowls.
- 2 cups dried noodles (optional & cooked separately near the end)
- chopped fresh parsley or cilantro added at end or to the bowls when serving.
How to make it
The cooking process is rather simple, you will be adding the ingredients along with the chicken and water and allowing it all to boil then simmer for at least 90 minutes until the chicken is done. Then removing the chicken allowing it to cool so that you can remove the meat from the bones. Then cooking your noodles separately if you want to add them to your soup, then adding the last of the reserved veggies to your soup and returning the now-deboned chicken along with the noodles to the soup and serving it up to you and your family.
Here are the step by step directions:
- Gather your ingredients and place your large stock pot on your stove or even use your slow cooker.
- Add olive oil to your stock pot (if you are using your slow cooker omit this step and simply add your ingredients to the slow cooker starting with the vegetables first, then add the chicken, then the water and turn it on)
- Remember to reserve one celery stalk, one carrot and all the scallions – you will be adding those last to the soup pot once your chicken has cooked and you have removed the meat from the bones and replaced it back into the soup – this keeps them slightly crunchy and adds color)
- Add diced onions, celery and carrots to the mix and turn the heat under pot.
- Allow the vegetables to sweat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While vegetables are cooking, remove skin off chicken and separate legs from thighs.
- Add chicken to pot, add all remaining ingredients: garlic, spices, salt and pepper, jalapenos, etc. (except for one carrot, one celery stalk, scallions)
- Add water to pot enough to bring the water level to about one inch from the top.
- Allow to come to a boil, then lower heat and allow the soup to simmer for at least 90 minutes.
- Scoop out chicken. Let cool slightly so it is easier to remove meat from bones.
- While noodles are cooking (see next step) and chicken is cooling, add the reserved diced carrot, celery and scallions to the soup.
- When removing meat from the chicken bones, I like to keep the chicken in chunks.
- Cook noodles separately and when done drain and rinse noodles before adding to soup.
- Serve up in bowls to feed your cold and starve your fever!
Variations & Tips:
- You can easily allow this to cook for much longer of course, just remember, the longer you cook the chicken in, it might be a bit ‘drier’ despite it being cooked in the soup.
- Adding additional jalapenos or red pepper flakes at the end will bring up the ‘heat factor’ opening up the most stubborn of stuffed noses.
- Adding a squeeze of lemon juice to the bowl will also up the vitamin C content.
- You can ‘cheat’ with the chicken and buy a pre-cooked roasted chicken, remove meat from bones and ’start’ the soup with the bones only and adding the meat after 90 minutes. – This is especially helpful for those too weak and need a quick fix of chicken soup. Just be sure not to add any of the skin to the soup.
- By adding the jalapenos, red chili flakes and cayenne pepper in the beginning, the soup takes on a gentle heat mellowing out the spiciness of the jalapenos. I personally like to add more red chili flakes and sliced jalapenos into my bowl just before serving to make it extra spicy – it gets my nose passages to open up so fast, I simply love being able to breathe again.
- ****LASTLY – the spices selected are specifically selected to help your body heal (cayenne pepper – gets blood flowing, ups metabolism)(rosemary aids in lung functioning properly)(scallions thin mucous secretions & help sweat out cold)(jalapenos & red chili flakes help open up nasal passages)(onions and garlic – have antibiotic properties plus help again with thinning out mucous secretions)
Enjoy ! It’s worth the effort.