Whenever my family starts getting sick, my husband or I always start a big pot of what we call “get well chicken soup”. It’s packed full of nutrients, will clear your sinuses, it’s hydrating, and it’s easy on sore throats and upset tummies! The best part about it is that besides some basic ingredients, everything you put in is totally up to you. No need to run to the store for anything, just use what you have on hand =) So here’s the basic recipe…
What you’ll need:
-Chicken (I prefer bone-in, but any cut is fine)
-Oil (I usually use olive oil, but any healthy oil is good. Grape seed, coconut, walnut, or sesame are all good choices.)
-Herbs and/or spices
That’s it! I’ll list my favorite veges, herbs, and spices later, along with my reasons for using them.
Cover the bottom of a large pot with oil and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and brown on all sides. Once the chicken is browned, fill the pot about halfway with water. Add about 1/4 cup of vinegar. Put in whatever herbs or spices you want. Don’t be afraid to put too much because it will be boiling for awhile and the flavor will be subdued. Bring to a boil. If you are using fresh veges, add them now. If using frozen or canned, wait until about 30 min before you plan to eat so they don’t get too mushy. The same goes if you want to add noodles. Boil over medium-high heat about 3 hours *OR* until chicken is cooked through! (This is important, you don’t want to get salmonella, too.)
Now that the soup is cooked, turn the burner on the lowest heat setting and leave it that way all day so you can continue to get bowls of hot soup. When you go to bed, put the pot in the fridge on some pot holders. In the morning, put it back on the stove, add a couple cups of water and bring it to a boil again, then reduce heat to low.
OK, I promised to tell you my favorite things to put in my soup and why. First off, I prefer olive oil for the taste and extensive health benefits. (http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-health-benefits) The reason I prefer chicken with the bones is because bone broth is extremely good for you. Bone broth is the reason chicken soup is used traditionally when someone is sick. Chicken soup from a can won’t work. Here’s why homemade bone broth is so important: http://nourishedkitchen.com/bone-broth/ *If you use chicken with the bones, be extra careful to check for bones in your bowl before eating!* The vinegar I prefer to use is apple cider vinegar. It works exceptionally well for clearing your sinuses! I also like to add balsamic vinegar for flavor and added health benefits. (http://www.apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com/home-remedies.html, http://www.newhealthguide.org/Balsamic-Vinegar-Health-Benefits.html) I always add fresh onion and garlic because of their benefits to fighting infections. I prefer red onions because I think they taste better. (http://www.mileylabs.com/onion-home-remedy-for-sinus-infection/, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=45, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=60) The vegetables I prefer, for no other reason than taste, are carrots, celery, potatoes, and bell peppers. You can use as many vegetables as you’d like, the more the merrier! Vegetables all have amazing health benefits and will work together with everything else to boost your immune system. If you’d like to know the specific nutritional value of the vegetables you use (or any other food, for that matter), my favorite website is http://nutritiondata.self.com. Root vegetables are delicious in soups, and usually high in vitamin C, which is the most important vitamin for your immune system. (http://www.3fatchicks.com/the-health-benefits-of-eating-root-vegetables/) Now, I always prefer fresh herbs over dried ones. Fresh herbs will always have more nutritional value, and better taste. (http://www.freshherbs.com/about-herbs/) I like parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, rosemary… OK, I admit, when I make chicken soup, I just add a little of everything! I also like spices in my soup. (What’s the difference between herbs and spices? Basically, herbs are the leafy parts and spices come from any other part of the plant. http://www.spiceislands.com/spices_and_herbs_education/spices_vs_herbs) I like paprika, celery seed, and cloves.
I swear by this chicken soup recipe for easing symptoms of the flu or a cold. I believe it also helps us get well faster, thus the name “get well” chicken soup. I usually feel better instantly when I eat it because of the aroma. Please feel free to ask questions if you have any!
*Note: I was alerted to the idea that olive oil is carcinogenic when heated. Apparently, there is a lot of misinformation about this. Here is some good information on cooking with different oils, and why olive oil is safe to use: http://scienceornot.net/2012/09/15/is-it-safe-to-cook-with-olive-oil/