I have geeky housewife dreams. Once I dreamed that I dusted a table, and turned around only to find it dusty again. A few weeks ago I dreamed that all the avocados on sale at the store were gone. Last night I dreamed that I thawed out a chicken, but then forgot what I was supposed to use it for, so I re-froze it (which obviously you should never do). But then, I was bummed because I remembered I wanted to make chicken soup with it. I know, my life is pretty exciting. I dreamed about the chicken because so many people I know are getting the swine flu, and I’ve been meaning to make a batch of chicken soup and freeze it for when we get hit with a seasonal illness.
I know it is cliche that chicken soup cures colds, but it has been scientifically proven to have healing properties. Recent studies have shown that while it may not prevent illness, it can provide relief. Chicken contains cysteine, an amino acid, which is released when the chicken cooks. According to an article on www.sixwise.com, “This amino acid is similar to the drug acetylcysteine, which is prescribed by doctors to patients with bronchitis. It thins the mucus out of the lungs, making it easier to cough out. And hot chicken vapors have been proven more effective than hot water vapors in cleaning out the cold in your nose.” (sorry about mucus-talk on a food blog. kind of yucky, but I’m trying to make a point.)
It’s no wonder why chicken soup is so good for you when you consider what else is in the soup. Carrots have beta-carotene which morphs into vitamin A, which helps white blood cells. Onions are an anti-inflammatory. Garlic helps maintain the levels of antioxidants in our system. Celery has vitamin C, and in fact some people even take celery supplements because of its benefits and has been referred to as a “cure all.” (for those of you interested, it is also considered an aphrodisiac. va-va-voom.) And parsley, well, it contains three times the amount of vitamin C as oranges. After writing all this and reflecting, wouldn’t be just more efficient to make a chicken soup supplement?
This recipe is in two parts – – first you make the stock, and then you make the actual soup. It looks like a lot of work, but it really isn’t.
1 whole chicken 3-4 pounds
2 carrots, washed and cut into fourths
2 stalks celery, including celery leaves, cut into fourths
1 onion, cut into fourths
1 head (not clove but yes, the whole head) of garlic cut in half from side-to side, not top to bottom
1 TBSP black peppercorns
1 1/2 TBSP Kosher salt
1/2 bunch of fresh parsley (you don’t chop it, just throw it in)
1 tsp Bouquet Garni (herb blend)
1 bay leaf
Place the cleaned chicken in the pot and add all the ingredients. You can stuff some of the vegetables into the cavity if you need to for space. Fill the pot a little more than 3/4 full. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer covered. When the chicken is done, in about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, take the chicken out to cool and strain the broth.
2 tsp olive oil
2 carrots, sliced thinly
1 small clove of garlic, minced
2 stalks celery the leaves, sliced medium
1 small onion, (about 1/2 cup) diced
1 can corn with juice
salt and pepper
Bouquet Garni to taste
chopped, fresh parsley
After the chicken has cooled, pick the meat off. Save half the chicken for another use. Heat oil over med-high heat and sautee carrot for a couple of minutes. Lower heat to medium and add garlic, onion, and celery. (If using fresh corn, add here) Lightly salt to draw out moisture and prevent browning. Cook until vegetables start to soften. Add chicken stock, pepper, bay leaf, bouquet garni, and chicken. Bring to simmer, uncovered, and cook until vegetables are tender, or at least 30 minutes. Add parsley.
You can also add noodles, but keep separate and add them to each bowl. The noodles will absorb the broth and your soup won’t be soup anymore after sitting in the fridge.