Sharonís Herbal Chicken Soup
I have great memories of when I was a little girl walking into my Grandparents' kitchen where my Grandfather had a big pot of chicken soup bubbling away on the stove. I have fond memories of sitting by the stove while my Grandfather made chicken noodle soup with big slices of carrots. To follow in that tradition, my father always made turkey soup after the Holidays just like his father. I have followed in their footsteps with a few new traditions like adding ginger to the broth, which was taken from a cookbook called ďThe Wisdom of the Chinese KitchenĒ by Grace Young. I continue to work on a soup that makes everyone feel better during a cold/flu so I added astragalus root for its wonderful immune stimulant properties. When sick itís important to remember that salt is not only extracting flavor but to help one get better. Also the healing part of the soup everyone talks about is in the fat of the soup. So donít de-fat your stock. Thatís the part that makes you better. I will often make just the basic stock and freeze it so later I can heat it up and make soup. The ingredients always change depending on whatís in my cupboard or what Iíve gotten fresh. You can use a whole roasting chicken or just the carcass. I sometimes cheat and get a rotisserie chicken, take off the meat and use the bones to make the stock.
Stock:   

2 Astragalus Root Slices, (immune stimulant and scientifically proven to help get over illness quicker) They look like tongue depressors.10 Coins of Ginger Root Fresh or Frozen, (anti-inflammatory) 

1 Chicken Carcass or roasting chicken (The enzymes that fight the flu are in the chicken fat) 

1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt (Germ killer and helps body fight infection) 

2 Garlic Cloves (just throw the whole thing in paper and all) (Germ Killer) 

1 Onion (Skins and all) quartered (Great for Coughs and kills germs) 

1 Stalk Celery, Large cut (Diuretic) 

1 Carrot, Large Cut (Beta Carotene for a strong immune system)

Place all in stockpot with enough water to cover the carcass and boil for a minimum of 1 Hour. You can boil it longer, but you must cook it at least one hour to really have a good stock. You can also add more water as it boils, just make sure itís hot. Strain out all the solid ingredients so that just the stock is left. If using a roasting chicken, let the chicken cool and take the meat off the bone to add to the soup later. If using a carcass, you can pick through the strained out material when itís cooled and take out little chicken pieces or vegetables but itís not necessary because youíre adding more vegetables and meat. I like to try and have all my vegetables and meat in bite sized pieces so that you donít get a big amount of hot liquid scorching anyone when they eat it. But thatís just me; itís just easier for me to eat.
Add:  
1 Onion bite size pieces
2 Carrots, coined or bite size
2 Celery, coined or bite size Any other vegetables you desire. To give you some ideas I sometimes add butternut squash, broccoli, summer squash, zucchini, green beans, shitake mushrooms, the list goes on. Chicken meat, cut into bite size pieces
A starch Pasta, Rice, Potatoes, Buckwheat, Quinoa, Corn, Peas, etc. if desired.
1 Tablespoon Salt or to taste Herbs if Desired: Turmeric about 1 tsp (Anti-inflammatory, will stain clothing, hands, counters)
Marjoram or Oregano (Clears congestion and coughs)
Lemon Balm (Fights viruses)
Stinging Nettle (Anti-histamine and Contains loads of Vitamins and Minerals)
Parsley ľ Cup (Contain loads of Vitamins and Minerals)
Dill weed or seed (for digestion and flatulence)
Rosemary (clear congestion and helps restless leg syndrome because it contains Rutin)  Cook soup for another 20 to 30 minutes and serve.
My recipe is always changing depending on what I think I need at the time. Itís not an exact science but itís good to start with a solid base and have fun experimenting from there.

Another way to make the soup

Once the stock has been strained and is set to the side, place the stockpot back on the heat and pour some olive oil into the bottom. Cook the onions until slightly browned or caramelized. Add carrots and celery and other vegetables. After a about 1 or 2 minutes pour the stock back into the stockpot and bring to a boil. Add pasta at this point if you are using it. Let simmer another 20-30 minutes.

 Serve.

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