A Cure-all to End All…

Remember when they told you chicken soup was good for you?  All the myth and metaphor about what great “medicine” it is?

Well, guess what: they weren’t fooling.

From the 12th century, “broth of fowl” has been used to heal and nourish.  Maimonides, an Egyptian Jewish philosopher and physician, said that “The meat taken should be that of hens or roosters and their broth should also be taken because this sort of fowl has virtue in rectifying corrupted humours.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but with all the “corrupted humours” I have, the more I can rectify the better.

And considering the time of year–what with holiday parties, travel, and subsequently returning to work with a bunch of potentially contagious co-workers–I figured we can use all the help we can get avoiding all the stray nasties floating around.

No joke, this stuff is pretty much amazing.  And it’s really pretty danged easy to make.  I know that generally, something that needs 2 hours to cook isn’t going to make it into this blog, but consider this something you do at the beginning of the week while you’re prepping other stuff for your workweek.  It makes a great quick lunch, or easy dinner when you get home late and just need something to throw in the microwave.

So here’s the science digs: chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine, which thins out the mucous in your lungs, making it easier to cough out. Also, chicken broth vapors have proven to be more effective than hot water vapors in soothing a ravaged respiratory tract.

Not only that, but the carrots I just know you are going to put in there are full of beta-carotene, which your body will obligingly convert to vitamin A. This enhances the action of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off viruses and harmful bacteria in your body.

Not to mention, things like onions, leeks and garlic (all members of the very healthy and helpful allium family) all contain quercetin, which is a super-powerful anti-oxidant and natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. This means good things for you, pal.

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Plus, you can put an infinite variety of “filler” to change it up; last time I made this, I cooked up a small batch of kasha to put in it (and had a great quick hot breakfast for the next morning). My boyfriend, however, doesn’t like the “mealy” texture of kasha…so he got organic orzo pasta instead.

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PS–Who knew leeks were this beautiful?

But anyway…you can try anything: whole wheat noodles, rice, rotini, or just plain old fashioned egg noodles, if that’s your preference. Any way you slice it, you’re going to get the great health benefits of chicken broth.

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So go ahead and make yourself up a batch. Your immune system will thank you…and less down time means more fun.

Easy Chicken Soup

1 whole chicken (I actually used half; you can also just use
pieces, as long as they still have the bones)
1 carrot
1 leek
1 onion
salt and pepper

–Roughly chop all the vegetables and place in a large pot with the chicken.
–Fill with enough water to cover all; generously salt the water.
–Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1-2 hours. You may see some froth initially; just skim this off. As the broth is cooking, you can add salt and pepper to taste.
–You will be able to tell when the broth is done; it will have a nice golden color and a little fat floating about.
–Remove the chicken bones and other waste parts and place the chicken pieces back in the soup; it should be really tender and come right off the bone.

Note: If you’d like a little less fat to deal with (this will solidify in the fridge; you can just scoop this off), you can take the skin off before you cook the chicken.

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