Sunday, July 15, 2012

Quick and Easy Chicken Soup

Bowl of Chicken Soup
To Your Health

Recipe by Robin

Summertime colds seem so counterintuitive and unfair. Staying in bed shivering under blankets while everyone else is outdoors playing in the sun, swimming with the kids, or sipping cocktails at a barbecue just doesn’t seem right. So the other day when I felt a bit under the weather, I chose to nip the virus in the bud. In addition to getting extra rest and drinking ginger tea and lemon tea, I made chicken soup.

Cabbage Leaves and Summer Squash
Add Soft Veggies Last for Best Texture
This is not the chicken soup like mother used to make, lovingly crafted in an hours-long process. It’s a down-and-dirty chicken soup made by a sick person who must care for herself. I made it from veggies that I found in the fridge, some leftover barbecued chicken, miscellaneous herbs from the garden, and powdered chicken bouillon. You can use any kind of cooked chicken, as little or as much as you have on hand, but do throw in some bones for added flavor. I used a combination of oregano, thyme, winter savory, and marjoram, the herbs growing closest to my back door. You can use dried herbs, but reduce the quantity by ½, and add them after the onions and carrot. I like adding fresh basil, and one way to insure you’ll always have some on hand for soups is by freezing it.

Carrots, Celery, and Onions
Add These Veggies First for Tastiest Broth
Two garnishes, served at the table, make this soup especially healthful for folks on the verge of getting sick. A freshly squeezed lemon adds vitamin C and soothes sore throats. Bragg Liquid Aminos adds some amino acids for rebuilding body cells, and replaces sodium lost by drinking extra water and hot liquids. These two ingredients give this soup its characteristic flavor, so I recommend keeping them on hand in case you need to make soup in a hurry.

Chopped Cabbage Stems and Leaves
Chop Cabbage Stems and Leaves Separately
This soup can be made with any veggies that you happen to have, though it’s most healthful and flavorful to include onions and carrots. In practice, the technique is to quickly chop the veggies and throw them into the boiling pot, starting with the hardest (longest-cooking) and ending with the softest (shortest-cooking). Then you can go back to relaxing…but remember that soup will be done only 5 – 7 minutes (even less if you use tomatoes) after you put the softest veggies in.

You can make this soup to use up a variety of older veggies from your fridge even if you’re feeling fine. Enjoy and be well!

Cabbage, Radishes, Carrots, Squash, Onion, Chicken
Eating the Rainbow for Health
Easy Chicken Soup
serves 8 - 10

leftover cooked chicken
8 – 10 cups water
3 tbsp. instant chicken bouillon
1 onion
1 shallot or leftover green onion
½ lb. carrots
½ lb. celery
1 lb. Napa cabbage
¼ lb. radishes
½  lb. summer squash
1 – 2 tsp. chopped fresh herbs
2 tbsp. chopped basil
lemon for garnish
Liquid Aminos for garnish

Add water, chicken carcass and/or meat, and instant broth to large soup pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to fast simmer.

Meanwhile, chop onion, carrots, and celery, and add immediately to soup pot. These veggies can cook almost indefinitely, and enrich the broth’s flavor. If using dried herbs, add them now.

Chop cabbage, separating hard stems from soft leaves. Slice hard parts thinly and add to pot. Chop and reserve the leafy parts.

Clean and chop radishes. Add to pot.

Slice squash. Chop fresh herbs, keeping basil separate.

Any time after carrots start to get tender, remove the meat and bones to a plate. Add the squash, chopped cabbage leaves, and chopped herbs. Stir them into pot thoroughly. Bring pot to boil again. Simmer again for 5  minutes or so, until squash is done to your liking.

Meanwhile, remove meat from bones and throw back into the pot.

When squash is done, remove soup from heat and stir in chopped basil.

Serve with lemon, Liquid Aminos, and additional chopped basil if desired.

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