Written by Claire Grullemans
As the weather cools down the kitchen heats up. That’s right it’s time to get hearty with a warm bowl of winter goodness. Soups are a great winter food for two main reasons; firstly they are generally quite simple to prepare, and secondly they are an easy way to get our 5 veggie a day quota.
Chicken soup is a well-known folk medicine for the common cold. About 10 years ago scientists put this folk theory to the test and gave chicken soup to a large group of people infected with the same strain of influenza (the ‘flu’) and by doing blood tests found that neutrophil migration was inhibited, which meant less inflammation, and their symptoms lessened in severity. Why else is chicken soup good for us?
- Cleansing. “Plenty of fluids” is often advised when you’re ill. A body full of attacking pathogens (like a virus) and battling antibodies needs to be flushed in order to get healthy. To that effect, the abundant broth in chicken soup provides this cleansing effect.
- Disinfecting. Chicken soup is generally fairly salty, so that when it goes down your throat it acts in much the same way as gargling warm salt water. In other words, it removes bacteria in the throat, mouth, and tonsils.
- Clears sinuses. Much like other warm liquids (for example, tea), it can help to clear the sinuses with steam.
- Strengthening. The lean protein in chicken and nutrients from added vegetables work to bolster your strength when your body is feeling drained of energy.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 4 (about 900g) organic chicken thigh cutlets, excess fat trimmed
- 1 large brown onion, halved, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled, finely chopped
- 1 celery stick, trimmed, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tbs finely chopped fresh continental parsley stems
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
- 2L (8 cups) water
- 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
- Sea salt flakes
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh continental parsley, extra
- Combine chicken, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, thyme, water and peppercorns in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 40 minutes or until vegetables are very tender.
- Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a clean work surface. Hold with tongs and cut the chicken meat from the bones. Discard bones. Finely chop the chicken meat and add to the soup.
- Taste and season with sea salt. Ladle soup among serving bowls. Sprinkle with extra parsley and serve immediately.