Get Well Soup
This soup has long ago earned a permanent place in my heart. When I am not too busy, I like to begin each season with a personal ritual of making a big batch of it to store in the freezer. We do not get sick very often, but I find it is like pure liquid gold the few times that we do. I often bring large containers of it to family and friends during cold and flu season or after a hospital stay and it has nursed just about everyone I love back to health at one point or another. With my husband recently discharged from the hospital, I made him a fresh batch. As I watched him work up an appetite over big steaming bowls of it, I knew I needed to share it with my friends here as well.
Get Well Soup
1 Tsp Butter
1 Tsp Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves, Minced with a pinch of Sea Salt
1 Large Onion, Chopped
6 Celery Stalks, Chopped
8 Medium Carrots, Chopped
8 Cups of Chicken Broth
1/2 Tsp Thyme
1 Tsp Parsley
1/4 Tsp Sage
1/4 Tsp Basil
1/4 Tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
4 Whole Chicken Breasts, Bone in with Skin (Preferably Organic)
2 Cups of Cooked Brown Rice, Wild Rice, Pasta, or Noodles
Melt Butter and Olive oil in a large stock pot.
Saute the garlic until fragrant. Immediately add onions, combine well and caramelize.
(To minimize the amount of oil used, I like to keep the stock pot lid on as much as possible allowing the onions to sweat, cook down, and caramelize in their own liquid.)
When onions are caramelized, add celery and carrots. Toss well to coat in the the trace amounts of oil left in the stockpot.
De glaze the stockpot with the chicken stock.
Add the dried herbs. (If using fresh herbs, double the amount.)
Add the chicken breasts, place lid on the stock pot and bring soup to a rolling boil.
Turn down the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken breasts are done.
Remove chicken breasts from pot and place on a large cutting board to cool slightly.
Add rice, pasta, or noodles to the pot and bring soup back to a rolling boil.
Meanwhile, remove skin from chicken and discard. Remove chicken from bone and discard all bones.
Chop or shred chicken, return to stock pot, and return to a rolling boil. Boil soup for 3 minutes and turn heat down to low.
Skim pools of fat from the top. It is not difficult to remove all of the fat, but I prefer to leave some behind as it adds quite a bit of flavor to the soup.
Ladle into bowls and serve steaming hot.
This soup can be kicked up a bit by topping each bowl with mounds grated Parmigiano Reggiano .
*Kitchen Notes: Good Old Fashioned Chicken Soup also known as Jewish Penicillin has long been thought to alleviate cold and flu symptoms and researchers have found that there is a bit of truth to that claim. According to research, Chicken Soup is known to have anti inflammatory properties that sooth sore throats and help ease some cold and flu symptoms. However, in my home the theory is quite a bit more simple as we believe that its almost magical properties come from the love infused in it while it is being made.
*Short Cut: If you are not feeling well or do not have the time or energy to chop all of the vegetables, consider replacing the replacing the carrots and celery with frozen vegetables. A shredded rotisserie chicken from the grocery store can easily stand in for the chicken breasts. Add a bit more water to the broth and add uncooked pasta or noodles during the last 10 minutes of cooking. This version is no where near as good, but it is far better then anything you can buy at the store.