Prescription Chicken Soup

The healing benefits of homemade chicken soup are no secret, and this bowl is the real deal.

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When we were sick growing up, my mom didn’t mess around.  She made chicken soup from scratch. I also remember black tea with lots of milk and sugar along with buttered toast, all of which probably contain no medicinal properties but comfort me to this day.  This soup, however, does have healing power. Bone broth and turmeric are both trendy now, but they’ve been good for you forever. The chicken bones contribute minerals which help our own bones, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant, and the veggies and herbs of course work their vitamin magic, too.  

This soup is a labor of love, but it will love you back.  I believe it is one of the best gifts you can give to someone who is hurting, physically or emotionally.  Nothing out of a can or a box comes close. 

Prescription Chicken Soup

1 whole chicken (or about 4 pounds of any combination of chicken pieces with skin)

4 carrots (2 halved, 2 sliced)

2 stalks celery (2 halved, 2 sliced)

3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1 onion, peeled and halved

1 tbsp peppercorns (or ½ tsp ground pepper)

1 tsp Kosher salt

1 small bunch fresh herbs (I like parsley and thyme)

½ tsp turmeric

Cooked egg noodles, pasta, or rice for serving (optional)

Place the chicken in a large stockpot with the 2 halved carrots, the 2 halved celery stalks, the garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and herbs.  Add enough water so that your chicken is completely covered, plus an inch or two.  

Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer about 3 hours.  You’ll need to skim the foam off the top from time to time, but otherwise you can go about your day.  When the chicken is falling apart, turn off the heat and, using a large slotted spoon, carefully remove all of the meat and vegetables from the broth and transfer to a bowl.  Let the chicken cool while you pour the broth through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth; this step is kind’ve a pain but leaves you with a nice clear broth. If you find that a lot of fat rises to the top, you can remove it but I like to leave a little.  

With the strained broth back in the pot, add the remaining raw sliced celery and carrot along with the turmeric, bring to a boil and cook for another 20 minutes or so until the veggies are tender.  Meanwhile, pick all the meat from the bones of the chicken and store in a separate container or Ziploc bag (you will have extra, so plan on making one of the hundreds of recipes you’ve seen that call for rotisserie chicken).  Discard the bones, skin, and mushy veggies (they gave everything they had to your delicious broth).  

Once the carrot and celery are tender, taste the broth and adjust seasoning as needed.  I like to serve this with egg noodles. Cook them separately, then when you are ready to eat, place some noodles and chicken in a bowl and ladle in the broth.  You can top it with a squeeze of lemon, or with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese like mom used to do.   

This pot makes about 10 servings, depending on how big your bowls are.  So definitely plan on gifting some to a friend or freezing for another night. Just remember to keep the noodles and chicken separate so they don’t get soggy. 

Food is medicine.  Slurp away and be well.  

Anyone who tells a lie has not pure heart, and cannot make good soup.

― Ludwig van Beethoven

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