Homemade Chicken Soup For Cold and Flu Season
Why Homemade Chicken Soup?
The first thing I think of with the cold and flu season is homemade chicken soup! And not just because I like to cook, either. Chicken Soup may sound like an old time remedy, but in these days of super bugs and MRSA, chicken soup may be just what the doctor ordered.
It's important to choose well when picking your chicken. If possible, choose organic. If organic is not an option, choose a chicken from a reputable source, and if you can get it free range, so much the better. If you can support a local farmer in your area at the same time, wonderful! This chicken is going to nourish your body, so it's worth it to spend a little extra if necessary.
What Else Besides Chicken?
So, you've got your chicken. What else? Carrots, celery, onion, and garlic are my favorite base for most soups that I make. They contain minerals, vitamins, and immunity boosting elements. And they made your soup taste good! You can also add any other vegetables that you especially like, such as green beans, kale, or leeks.
I also like to add some kind of starch when using this soup for a meal. It just helps you stay fuller, longer. If an upset tummy is an issue, white rice is a good, easy-to-digest starch. Or you can add noodles, potatoes, or beans, such as great northern.
So, what exactly are some of the health benefits of chicken soup? First off, warm chicken broth is hydrating. When you are not feeling well, sometimes it's hard to remember to drink enough fluids. The vegetables in your soup contain not only vitamins but minerals, and antioxidants that help carry out the "trash" so to speak, from your cells. And garlic has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties! How can you beat that?
Homemade Chicken Soup Recipe
Here's a simple, delicious homemade chicken soup recipe.
- 1 chicken fryer, preferably organic
- 1 medium onion
- 2-3 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 head garlic
Place chicken in a stock pot and cover with water. Add 2 T. salt, 1 carrot, chopped, and 1 celery stalk, chopped, and half an onion, roughly chopped, and half a head of garlic. Simmer until chicken is cooked thru. Remove chicken, and when cool, pull meat off bones. Add the bones back into the stock pot, and simmer until you have a nice, rich broth. This process usually takes 2-3 hrs, depending on the size of your chicken. You know your chicken is cooked through when the leg section pulls easily away from the body of the chicken, and there is no more pink in the meat.
Once your broth is done, strain to remove any bits of vegetables or bones. Set aside. Chop your remaining vegetables, and saute in a clean stock pot or dutch oven in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add stock and bring to boil. Add dry pasta (I usually use about 2-3 cups of dry) and simmer until pasta and vegetables are tender. Add chopped, cooked chicken back into pot. Salt and pepper to taste.