It’s been well-established that chicken soup is necessary to cure a cold (well-established by me). Now, when you are a child, you need that chicken soup to be lovingly prepared by mom, dad or maybe grandma because you aren’t allowed to use sharp knives and the stove, but as an adult – you must have a good chicken soup recipe in your repertoire because you will find it’s most likely YOU who will need to prepare the soup for YOURSELF. Don’t mistake my ALL CAPS for bitterness, I would prefer to make my own soup now because it can be customized to my specific tastes (and as an adult you have to do your own dishes!! Wait until my kids realize being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be). Chicken soup is what I consider to be a blank slate food. Once, you have the basics down you can turn it into numerous different soups.
This soup is super fast, requires little effort and doesn’t need babysitting. As always, I am not a fan of proper measuring, so you know, take my approximations and mix that with your good judgement.
Now this soup that I made today will clear your sinus right quick, but another favorite combo is to add in fresh rosemary, grated lemon zest and Parmesan cheese with orzo pasta. You can also make a Mexican version by adding in chili powder and ground cumin; topping with sliced avocado, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Last weekend, I played around with a Thai version that included red chili peppers, soy sauce, sesame oil and rice noodles. I could go on, but you get the picture – once you have the basics down, you are good to go no matter what flavor mood you are in the next time a cold strikes or you are craving a warm bowl of soup.
Chicken Soup Recipe
2-4 chicken breasts, cubed
3-4 celery stalks (with leaves), diced
2-3 carrots, diced
3-4 gloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp. thyme (if you have fresh, then use a few sprigs)
32 oz. low-sodium chicken stock (I use one carton of chicken stock and then an equal amount of water but you could use all chicken stock if you are so inclined.)
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tbsp Olive oil
1/2 c. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
(This is only a short list – based on what I used today, but use your imagination and add in whatever else suits your fancy).
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 red chili pepper, minced (be careful not to touch your eyes after touching the pepper).
Sriracha Hot Sauce – liberal amounts if you can tolerate it.
Preheat a big pot, Dutch oven, what have you – to medium heat.
Chop all vegetables, fresh herbs and chicken.
Add olive oil to pan to coat, place chicken into to brown.
Season chicken with salt, pepper and thyme (if you are using dried)
Once chicken has browned some and you can easily move it around the pan, add in the onions, garlic, celery, carrot and chili pepper and give it a good stir.
Let all the goodness cook together for a few minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Add in the chicken stock (and water if you choose), cover and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, turn it to low and walk away. Leave it covered; constant stirring not needed. Today I let it cook for about 45 minutes while I was working on a photo editing project, but you could go longer if needed. 30 minutes is the minimum cook time in my opinion.
Important Step!! This is crucial if the soup was prepared for cold-curing purposes. When the desired amount of time has lapsed – lift the lid and put your face in the steam – DON’T GET YOUR HAIR IN THE SOUP! – breathe in the aroma and feel your sinus open up. Obligatory warning: don’t burn yourself.
Now, you get to garnish! Today I used fresh chopped Italian parsley and Sriracha sauce, and it did the trick.
Sit down at the table or curl up on the couch and enjoy that yummy soup and allow it’s magical healing powers to work.