Sunday, 24 July 2011

Chicken Soup - See Off Summer Sniffles

Our non-existent summer has unfortunately allowed the ‘Bogeyman’ to continue his wicked winter work.  This week he paid poor Oscar a visit, leaving him with the snottiest of colds. Great!

What can a Mum do to help?  Not much really but be ready with tissues, cuddles and… (in my world at least) make magical chicken soup.   Sounds crazy but there is evidence to suggest that the delicious combination of chicken, veggies and herbs in this soup can really help reduce the symptoms of a cold.  The traditional chicken soups are usually clear, but my version is velvety thick, which not only makes it a hearty meal but also ensures that more stays on the spoon and makes it to Oscar’s mouth.

This is not my most simple recipe and I never really enjoy dealing with a whole chicken, but it will make you feel as if you are doing your best to help, and it makes a huge amount, so freeze batches for future lazy lunches.   It is delicious and seriously filling, so don’t wait for the Bogeyman, just dig in.

1 medium chicken (no giblets and take off as much skin as you can)
6 carrots
3 sticks celery
1 turnip
2 onions
5 cloves garlic
1 small sweet potato
½ green pepper
½ red pepper
Handful parsley
Handful dill

1. Take off as much of the skin from your chicken as possible.  I had never done this before and made a bit of a mess, but I think it is probably worth it as you will get a less fatty soup.  Put the chicken in a very large pot and just cover with water.  Bring to the boil and skim of any scum that rises to the surface as it heats up.

2. Peel and roughly chop all the veg and herbs, the celery will need to be finely chopped to avoid stringy soup.  

3. Add all the veg to the pot except the dill and parsley. Bring back to the boil and simmer, uncovered for about 1½ hours or until the chicken is cooked through.   Stir occasionally to make sure all the veggies get their turn to be submerged in the water.  Add more water during the cooking time if the chicken is not covered but try not to add too much as you want a thick soup, it would be better to put the lid on if the water gets a bit low.

4. Remove the chicken from the pot, add the dill and parsley and continue to simmer.  Meanwhile pull off as much meat as you can from the chicken and return the meat to the pot.  Discard the bones etc.

5. Blend the soup with a stick blender, take your time with this as the longer you blend the more velvety the soup.  Add salt and pepper if you wish.

Despite feeling a bit sorry for himself, Oscar tucked in and has eaten this soup several times this week.  Another top score 5/5 (must enjoy it while it lasts).

Nutrition notes – Having done a little research into chicken soup I found that, according to pulmonary specialist Irwin Ziment MD at UCLA School of Medicine, chicken soup contains druglike agents that resemble those found in modern cold medicines!  Brilliant, forget the spoonful of sugar, this medicine goes down deliciously!

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