Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Flu No More Chicken Soup

I am thoroughly convinced that my awesome chicken soup kicks the ass of any over-the-counter cold remedy out there. I have been sick for the better part of 2 weeks, and I finally broke down and made myself some soup the other night. So far, I'm feeling better than ever.

I'm not much of a recipe writer. It's a pinch of this or a shake of that. Here's my secret tips that make my soup so fucking awesome.

  • Ginger - it has all kinds of health benefits. Not ground, powdered ginger; fresh ginger.Use your microplane or a grater to mince it fine.
  • Peppers - I've tried to use cayenne or chilli in place of fresh peppers but nothing beats the real, fresh thing. I like to use a combo of jalapenos, serrano, and those long green Italian peppers. 
  • Chicken STOCK  - not broth or soup. Buy a good quality, low sodium STOCK. Stock is rich and dark and flavorful. Broth is nothing more than flavored water. The stock is where it's at. Don't skimp on this
  • Fresh lemon - Nothing enhances the flavor of chicken quite like a squeeze of lemon and maybe some of the zest. Use your microplane for the zest and your reamer to get all the juice out of the lemon. It also does wonders for a cold.

So, get out your favorite chicken soup recipe, and tweak it with my tips.

You need chicken with bones to make soup. No one makes soup with boneless breast meat. I personally like breast meat to eat, but the flavor is in the bones and the dark meat. For my soup, I bought a split chicken breast, bone in. With a pat of butter and some oil, I sauteed that chicken, breast side down in my soup pot until the outside was seal and the skin was crispy. Remove the chicken and set aside. If you have too much oil, drain off a little but leave enough to saute your mirepoix. You're making soup, so you ARE using mirepoix, rirght? (Onions, carrots, celery) small dice is fine. While sauteing your mirepoix, throw in your herbs and spices. I like thyme, parsley, tarragon, and some bay leaves. Use what you want. When it's all cooked and translucent (that means you can see through it), toss in a little minced garlic, lots of minced ginger, and your diced hot peppers. Cook until it's smelling good and cook everything down until it starts to caramelize in the pot. That means the water is cooking off from the veggies and the heat and natural sugars in the mixture is starting to brown slightly. Remove the chicken skin from the split breasts. Nothing is more gross than boiled chicken skin. Throw the whole breast back in there, bone and all. Cover everything in chicken stock. Rub all the fond (the brown caramelized bits) off the bottom of the pan. Toss in some bite sized carrots and boil until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Remove the chicken, shred the meat and return that shredded meat to the pot. Taste and adjust seasoning. I personally like a little starch in my soup so I always put in some mini pasta like orzo or stars or mini bow ties, like I just found this past weekend. Add a little more water if necessary and book down until the pasta is cooked through. Toss in the grated lemon zest and squeeze that lemon juice in there as though your life depended on it! All the caramelized veggies and fond should result in a rich, dark soup. Better than any yellow, canned coagulated mess any day.

Here's why my soup is awesome. The ginger is a natural immunity booster. The hot peppers helps the body sweat. Why do you need to sweat? Because all the bacteria and mucus and crap in your body making you sick needs to be forced out. The hot peppers help do that. Chicken soup, for some reason, is generally known to have some sort of healing powers. I don't know if that's scientific or mental, but there you have it.

I'm still ill, but much better than I have been the last couple of weeks. Try it. See if it does wonders for you.


  1. Hey love..how'd you ride out the storm? You and the family ok?

    1. Hi, babes. I rode it out in my pj's with pj's with my laptop and the audio trilogy of "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" going. I'm on the 3rd book. Not the most exciting thing I've ever ridden on my bed.

      Everyone's fine. I've been so ill, I've just holed up in my room like a hobbit. My brother slept at work for 2 nights. My neighbors lost their gutters and parts of their chimney. My other neighbor had a tree fall down in their backyard. For whatever reason, we got out fairly unscathed. Everything good by you?

  2. You better chug this soup by the gallon. You need to be a thousand percent by 11/9!!!!!

    1. I've been chugging! No one in my house likes spicy food so it's all mine. Don't even bring it up! I don't want to jinx it. I'm so nervous, I'm making myself sick. I really need this to go well. Just wish me luck and don't bring it up again. I'll let you know first if it all goes through!

  3. Mmmm. That soup sounds sooo good! I love chicken soup- chicken noodle soup especially. Sorry you're not feeling well. Miss you! Hope to see you soon.

    1. I'm no a big chicken soup fan normally. I don't like buying it because a lot of places use yellow dye to get the color right or they leave a lot of chicken fat in there, and I HATE chicken fat.

      I like making it from scratch because I know what's going in there, but it's labor intensive. I did a lot of research on why it's good for colds, and I did research on what they recommend you eat to stay healthy. I found a way to incorporate it into the soup. Personally, I don't like eating ginger, but it's one of those wonder foods. If you mince it find and saute it with the veggies, you don't even taste it. I don't know if it cooks out all the good stuff out of it, but I throw in a bigger piece to boil along with the liquid and I don't eat that piece at all. The hot peppers is where all the REALLY good stuff is at in terms of this soup. My family misses out because they won't eat hot food, but the capsicum does have restorative qualities in it. It also produces endorphins, and who doesn't need that when they're sick.

      The mini pasta is just my own personal preference. I really like orzo, but I couldn't find any in the supermarket this past weekend and I stumbled on these tiny little mini bow ties and I went with that. Not bad!! ;-)

      My soup is all gone now, but I'm feeling a lot better than I was before. When the supermarket is up and running again, I might make another batch. =)

  4. I love pasta. I think I prefer it over rice. I will have to try your chicken soup sometime. :D. My sinuses are a hot mess right now. I blame Sandy. LOL!