Happy New Year! A happy and HEALTHY one to you and yours!

I hope you all had a wonderful and healthy holiday season. We had half of one. Oh, we had plenty of “wonderful”-great family time, fun outings, lots of friends, yummy dinners. We just missed the “healthy” part- bad head colds for Tad and the kids, and for me, a special treat…

See, at about 11 pm on New Year’s Eve I got socked with the stomach flu. And boy, was it a tsunami. Luckily for me, and anyone I might have been near, we were home and without company. And, as stomach bugs go, this was a humdinger. But, if there is a silver lining to be found in the rocky start of my 2011, it is that all my dietary sins of December 2010 have disappeared! Nothing like the stomach flu to take the weight right off! The flu might be wretched, but it is effective as a weight loss device!

There is nothing worse than being so sick that the mere thought of food appalls you. That was me on New Year’s Day. And, honestly, I must confess that even today my stomach is still a bit dicey. But, sensitive stomach and all, there is still one thing that just feels right to make, eat and write about- Chicken Soup.

For centuries people have been relying on the healing powers of Chicken Soup. The ancients wrote about its’ healing effect and there are modern doctors who claim evidence that it heals the body (though no clinical trial have ever proven anything.) Grandmothers are famous for it. Moms make it better than anyone else-or so it seems at the time. Whether it really has medicinal qualities, I can’t say. Though, that much anecdotal evidence can’t be all hooey. What I can tell you is that it is a soup that is good whether you have a cold, flu, stomach bug or are just plain healthy and hungry. It is gentle going down; yet, it has flavor-a combination hard to find. It is warm, soothing, hydrating, comforting. In short, there is just nothing like it when you are under the weather.

And, it’s easy to make! To make good chicken soup, all you need is a pot, a chicken, some veggies and time. Anyone can do that. It freezes beautifully and is the perfect thing to have stored away for when you need it most! So take a bit of advice from the ancients and grandmas of the world and get your Chicken Soup grooving…with or without noodles. You’ll be glad you did!

Chicken Soup (Noodles or not)
1 chicken- about 4 lbs, rinsed and patted dry
2 onions, halved
5 ribs celery- 3 ribs whole, 2 ribs chopped in a rough chop and reserved
5 large carrots, peeled-3 carrots roughly chopped, and 2 cut into 1/4 “ slices and reserved
5 cloves garlic, peeled
6-8 sprigs parsley
2 ½ quarts water
1 quart chicken stock (preferably homemade)
2 c cooked peas
3 T chopped fresh dill
¼ c chopped fresh parsley
salt/pepper to taste
optional: ½ lb of desired noodles

1. Place chicken in a large stock pot and add the onions, 3 ribs of celery, 3 roughly chopped carrots, garlic, sprigs of parsley, salt and pepper. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 2 to 2.5 hours. Occasionally skim off any foam that forms on top.
2. Remove the chicken from the soup and allow it to cool. Remove the skin and bones and shred the meat. Reserve the meat, covered, in the refrigerator.
3. Strain the soup, discarding the vegetables, and return the liquid to the pot. Add the chicken stock, remaining chopped carrots and celery. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
4. If adding noodles do so now. Cook until noodles are al dente.
5. Add chicken, peas and herbs to soup. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or freeze.

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One Comment

  1. aunt fred
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi,

    Oh My I also have spent a serious amount of time after getting back from Mass. nursing a wretched dose of bronchial flu so we were all feeling rotten at the same time BUT WE DID FEEL WONDERFUL AT XMAS TOGETHER SO THINK I AM VERY LUCKY TO HAVE YOU ALL IN MY WORLD.
    I agree with most of the rceipes you post but there are some extra secret ingredients for special chicken soup…a couple of lumps of sugar stops any of the cloudiness which sometimes comes from celery, and in order to fend off the germs you have to stir it with a lot of love before serving it…makes all the difference….I am enclosing lots of love but no soup as Croline is the best cook I know….Aunt Fred

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