It’s that time of the year, I suppose. Like many of you, I recently had my annual bout with the sniffling, sneezing, coughing, achy awful thing. I’m lucky though, it wasn’t COVID, so just a seasonal thing I needed to get through. I hope you are all safe and healthy as well. If you happen to get your seasonal thing, I highly recommend two things:
First, have someone go to the Mercury Cafe & Teahouse (New Castle, De) and ask Aaron to make you a special herbal blend of teas. Absolutely miraculous. Second, make this soup and eat it several times a day.
Believe it or not, chicken soup may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity including an anti-inflammatory mechanism that could ease the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, according to a study reported in the October 2000 issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.
Of course, our ancestors knew it all along. Even my mother, who was decidedly not a good cook, made a chicken noodle soup with mashed potatoes that I still crave when I’m sick. But I added a few phytonutrients and ingredients that I thought might speed the healing process along.
3.5 lb whole chicken, rinsed and cleaned, the best quality you can afford
1-2 heads of garlic, cut in half horizontally
2 carrots, cut into chunks
2 celery ribs, cut into chunks
2 onions, peeled and cut into quarters
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
4 thyme sprigs (or 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves)
9 – 10 cups water (I like to use canned stock)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion , diced
4-6 garlic cloves , minced
2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger, peeled and minced
1 small head broccoli, chopped small
2 celery ribs , cut into 1 cm/ 1/2″ thick pieces
1 tablespoon turmeric
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 bay leaves
5-6 Green Tea Bags
Chopped jalapeno or chili flakes (Optional)
Salt & pepper
Place the chicken in a large pot. Add remaining broth ingredients, then add enough water (or canned stock) so the chicken is just covered.
Cover with a lid, bring the water to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Then adjust heat so it’s simmering GENTLY with the lid on. Simmer 1.5 hours until chicken is tender and easily comes off the bone. (Or 8 hours on low in a slow cooker)
Scoop scum off surface once or twice during first 30 minutes.
Transfer chicken to pan. Shred meat and discard bones.
Remove carrots, celery etc. from broth, and discard.
Sometimes, I’ll refrigerate the soup for a few hours until the fat sets, then scoop the fat off the surface – it’s healthier & makes the broth clearer.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery and garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Add ginger and broccoli.
Turn heat up to medium high. Gently pour 8 cups of your broth in (top up with water if necessary), leaving behind any residue settled in the bottom of the broth pot.
Add turmeric, bay leaves and pepper. Stir.
Cook until the broccoli is tender. Add as much chicken as you like, and heat.
Turn off the heat and add the tea bags. Let them steep for up to 8 minutes and remove them as well as the bay leaves. Season with salt & pepper and enjoy.
Green Tea: antioxidants in green tea help take away bad bacteria and free radicals. Congestion and coughing are reduced when you drink this tea.
Broccoli contains Guercetin which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that might help reduce swelling, but is most commonly used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels and to prevent cancer.
Ginger clears congestion. Some studies have proclaimed it blocks the rhinoviruses
Garlic and Onion: Most things in the allium family are loaded with antioxidants and good for fighting bacteria and increasing blood flow.
Chilis: Capsaicin isn’t necessarily known for medicinal properties, but it will certainly help with your sinuses if you are congested.
Turmeric: My favorite thing. In food, in teas and lattes, everything. It’s a true superfood, and contains a compound called curcumin, which can effectively treat a cough. Notably, this compound is known to have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric can also provide you relief from respiratory conditions like asthma, bronchitis, etc.