Fall is here and winter is on its way. This is the time when cold, flu and allergies are once again upon us. The best way to boost our immune systems, avoid getting sick and promote wellness is by eating well. HOMEMADE Chicken Soup is a powerhouse concoction that is tried, true and proven to do just that. Not only is it excellent for when we’re feeling under the weather and sick – it’s also superb for promoting our overall wellbeing during cold weather. Check out the video and the recipe below. And, don’t forget to read the health benefits of homemade chicken soup that follow.
Healthy Soup Ingredients:
- 1 whole organic Free Range Chicken
- 1 pkg. Shiitake mushrooms
- 8 organic carrots
- 8 organic celery sticks
- 1 organic fennel
- 1 organic leek
- 2 large yellow onions
- Fresh chopped Thyme
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. organic curry (to taste)
- Sea Salt (to taste)
- 2 Tbsp. peppercorns
- Cut up chicken into pieces. I suggest having this done for you at the meat department to save time and mess. Place chicken in large soup pot and cover with clean, filtered water. Make sure you use all of the chicken, including giblets, neck etc. Sprinkle sea salt into pot and add peppercorns to broth.
- Cut up 4 carrots, 4 celery sticks and 1 large onion into large chunks. Add these vegetables to the pot to cook with the chicken. Chop and add fresh Thyme to pot. Add 2 chopped cloves of garlic. Add Tbsp. of curry. These will all cook down and season the broth nicely. Keep heat on high and bring contents to boil. Skim off foam. Then, reduce heat to a simmer. Add 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar and cover. Let simmer for 6 to 12 hours. The longer it cooks, the better the flavor.
- After soup has cooked for a long time (6-12 hours), separate broth from contents by pouring through a strainer into another large pot. Do this in the sink to avoid making a mess. Remove strainer with contents (cooked chicken and veggies. Place broth back on stove on low heat while you chop up fresh vegetables to place in broth to create final product.
- Let contents in strainer cool (chicken and cooked veggies).
- Chop up remaining raw carrots, fennel, celery, leek and onion into small pieces and add to broth on stove. Turn heat up to high and bring to boil. Reduce to medium or medium low and let vegetables cook for at least an hour or longer.
- Once cooked chicken and veggies are cool enough (30 minutes or so), remove chicken pieces and discard cooked vegetables. Separate all chicken meat from bones and discard the bones. Pull chicken into small pieces and return to soup broth with cooking vegetables. At this time, I would add the Shiitake mushrooms as they don’t take long to cook at all. You can do this any time as chicken is already well cooked at this point.
- Finally, after soup is ready, remove lid and taste. Add more sea salt, pepper, curry or spice to your liking.
The SuperFood Power Punch of Chicken Soup
Health Benefits of Chicken Broth*
Health Benefits of Chicken Broth*
Chicken stock provides a concentrated source of minerals and hydrophilic colloids that make your entire meal more digestible. Colloids that have been heated (i.e. in cooked foods) generally repel liquids, making cooked foods harder to digest. However, the gelatin in chicken and other meat broths has the unusual property of attracting liquids—it is hydrophilic—even after it has been heated. The same property by which gelatin attracts water to form desserts, like with Jello, allows it to attract digestive juices to the surface of cooked food particles. This is a primary reason why the broth in chicken soup is so good in aiding the digestive process. Good digestion usually means good health.
According to Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation,
“Chicken soup has a natural ingredient which feeds, repairs and calms the mucous lining in the small intestine. This inner lining is the beginning or ending of the nervous system. It is easily pulled away from the intestine through too many laxatives, too many food additives. . .and parasites. Chicken soup. . .heals the nerves, improves digestion, reduces allergies, relaxes and gives strength.”
What better natural remedy to have during times of sickness and for maintaining health and wellness during cold weather?
Health Benefits of Carrots:
Carrots are rich sources of carotenoids (particularly beta-carotene), B vitamins, phosphorus, calcium and all important iodine. The antioxidant nutrients in carrots are believed to explain many of the heart protective benefits provided by this root vegetable. The carotenoids in carrots are also known for their benefit for eye health. And, lab studies have shown the ability of carrots and their juice to inhibit the grown of colon cancer cells. Carrots are simply too rich in digestive tract-supporting fiber, antioxidants, and unique phytonutrients to not be eaten in support of the lower digestive tract and colon cancer protection.
Health Benefits of Fennel:
Fennel contains its own unique combination of phytonutrients—including the flavonoids rutin,quercitin, and various kaempferol glycosides, that give it strong antioxidant activity. In animal studies, the phytonutrient anethole in fennel has been shown to lower inflammation and to help prevent the occurrence of cancer. It is also a great source of vitamin C. The vitamin C (needed for a healthy immune system) found in the fennel bulb is also potently antimicrobial. It contains a very high fiber content, and in addition, is a very good source of folate, the B vitamin necessary for the conversion of a dangerous molecule called homocysteine (that can cause a host of heart and cardiovascular damage) into other, benign molecules. It is also a very good source of potassium, a mineral that helps lower high blood pressure, another risk factor for stroke and heart attack.
Health Benefits of Leek:
Leeks can always be used in place of onions, although they have a slightly more pungent flavor than their cousins. Leeks are good sources of carotenoids, B complex and vitamin C and are considered nourishing for the liver. Leeks, not unlike their cousin garlic and fennel, also contain important amounts of the flavonoid kaempferol, which has repeatedly been shown to help protect our blood vessel linings from damage, including damage by overly reactive oxygen molecules. This appears to involve increased production of nitric oxide (NO), a naturally occurring gas that helps to dilate and relax the blood vessels. Leeks also contain a high content of antioxidant polyphenols, which play a direct role in protecting our blood vessels and blood cells from oxidative damage.
Health Benefits of Shiitake mushrooms:
Widely referred to as “medicinal mushrooms,” the Shiitake is a smoky flavored fungus, packed full of beneficial nutrition. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, shiitake mushrooms are used for cleansing and balance. They appear able to enhance immune function in both directions, giving it a boost when needed, and cutting back on its activity when needed. They are also known to contain a natural source of interferon, a protein which appears to induce an immune response against cancer and viruses. Like other mushrooms, they contain about 90 percent water and act as sponges, absorbing the flavors of other foods with which they are cooked. They contain protein, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and are a great source of iron and B complex vitamins, particularly biotin. They are also known to contain a substance called adenosine, that has potent blood thinning and anticoagulating properties.
Benefit of adding Apple Cider Vinegar to soup:
Acidic wine or vinegar added during the cooking process helps to draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, into the broth.
The above health benefits of these vegetables are by no means exhaustive. There’s a lot more to be known about how they can bolster our health. Nevertheless, take what’s written here to heart (no pun intended) and serve yourself up this dish frequently. Not only will your taste buds love it, but your body will love you for its nutritional value all the more.
*NOTE: Much of the broth information above was obtained from the great book: Fallon, Sally (1999-10-01). Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. NewTrends Publishing, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
As always, I welcome your comments, suggestions and questions below.