CORONA UPDATE : On BBC Radio 5 this morning, Dr Clare Gerada described chicken soup as “God’s penicillin” and said that it was the only thing that made her feel better when she contracted the Corona virus. She said the reason for this is that “it’s putting some fluid into you and you also know that if you’re putting something back into your stomach that is not just water, that you’re on the mend.” Source: Nicky Campbell, 5 Live Breakfast, 03/04/2020)
My best wishes go out to anyone currently battling this dreadful virus. Get well soon.
Home made chicken soup is always the go-to meal when someone in the family goes down with a cold. Nothing beats a soothing bowl of warm soup to make you feel better, especially when it’s been lovingly made from scratch.
A scientist at the University of Nebraska Medical Centre used his own grandmother’s recipe to test whether there was any substance to the popular belief in chicken soup being good for colds. The Nebraska study concluded that chicken soup did help, as it was a good way of taking in plenty of fluids, and the chicken and vegetables had a “modest but clearly measurable ability” to reduce the upper respiratory inflammation, which occurs as a result of the body trying to fight off the infection.
My recipe below is not too dissimilar to the Nebraskan grandmother’s one. However, I also add freshly chopped rosemary and fresh ginger for their delicious flavour and because both contain properties which help against cold symptoms. Feel free to add more ginger than stipulated below if, like me, you love its zingyness!.
This recipe is easy to prepare and inexpensive as you use the cheaper cuts of the chicken, such as chicken thighs, drumsticks or wings, to add unbeatable flavour and goodness. The stock produced from using chicken on the bone is way superior to only using ready made stock cubes. This is why top chefs prefer making their own stock for soups and sauces.
Using Leftovers to make stock : If you have a leftover roast chicken, you can use this instead of fresh chicken, to make the stock for your soup. If there is still quite a lot of meat left on chicken, remove this from the carcase first, chop meat into small pieces and set aside. Remove skin and add bones to the pot. Then follow the instructions for the vegetables in main recipe below, leaving out the fresh chicken.
Once soup is cooked, strain the liquid in order to remove the bones and vegetables, so that all that is left is the clear liquid. You can use this as fresh stock to make the recipe using fresh chicken below. Or simply reheat the clear soup and add the cooked, chopped chicken pieces, just before serving.
- 4 chicken thighs or 6 drumsticks or wings .
- 1 large onion
- 1 small leek
- 2-3 carrots (depending on size)
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 turnip
- 2 cloves of garlic
- small piece of ginger (finely diced or use dried according to taste)
- sprig of fresh rosemary-finely chopped (or 1 teaspooon of dried herbs)
- 2 litres of chicken stock (either freshly prepared as described above or using ready made stock cubes)
- Wash, peel and chop the vegetables.
- Put cleaned, skinned chicken pieces and chopped vegetables into a large pan.
- Add around 2 litres of stock (or as required, to ensure sufficient liquid to cook ingredients)
- Add herbs, ginger, salt.
- Cook for about 30 minutes on a moderate heat until the chicken and vegetables are cooked.
- You can puree the garlic and add to soup or remove altogether.
- Check for seasoning and serve.
-Feel free to add/substitute other root vegetables such as parsnip if preferred.
–For a heartier soup : Add half a cup of barley or rice to make it more nutritious. Add barley or rice at the beginning of cooking and adjust cooking time given above to ensure rice/barley cooked as per instructions on pack. You may also need to add more water/stock and seasoning.
-For children: Add a small quantity of orzo or mini pasta shapes like stellette to the soup. Method: Once soup is cooked remove chicken and vegetables so you are left with only the clear liquid. Then bring soup back to the boil and add a small quantity of pasta. Adjust seasoning if required and follow cooking instructions for the pasta. You can also add some finely chopped chicken and/or vegetables to the soup.
-For a clear soup, simply skim any impurities that have risen to surface, strain removing all vegetables and chicken, check for seasoning and serve.
Source: Chicken Soup Inhibits Neutrophil Chemotaxis In Vitro, Barbara O. Rennard, BA; Ronald F. Ertl, BS; Gail L. Gossman, BS; Richard A. Robbins, MD, FCCP; and Stephen I. Rennard, MD, FCCA , Larson Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Section, 985125 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198- 5125
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