I landed in Provincetown, MA for the summer and brought with me a cold . . . a summer cold. Nothing worse than arriving in a new town and working for a new client and not feeling 100%. With a limited kitchen, I yearned for a good old pot of comforting chicken soup.
There are many news articles that give credit to the restorative qualities of chicken soup. The New York Times, in 2007 reports, “As it turns out, a handful of scientific studies show that chicken soup really could have medicinal value. The most widely cited of these studies, published in the medical journal Chest in 2000, is by Dr. Stephen Rennard of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.” The article goes on to say that chicken soup can help the body defend against infection and help reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms.
Additionally, Susan Greer writes about chicken soup in her 2014 article in the Huffington Post, “Recipes vary widely, but regardless of the country or culture, chicken soup's reputation as a comfort food — good to eat and good for what ails you — seems to be universal.”
Here’s my simple recipe for good health via a steaming hot bowl of chicken soup:
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours
Yield: 8 servings
1 fresh whole chicken, about 4 1/2 pounds
2 large carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
3 medium celery stalks, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 medium onions, diced
2 sprigs thyme
¼ bunch parsley, torn in bits
2 bay leaves
Freshly ground pepper
Place chicken, carrots, celery, garlic, onions, thyme, parsley and bay leaves in a large pot. Cover chicken with water by 2 inches.
Place pot over medium low heat, bring to a slow simmer and cook, uncovered, occasionally scraping scum from the top of the soup with a ladle until the chicken begins to fall off the bone at the thigh, about 3 hours.
Carefully remove chicken from the pot, and, using two forks, scrape off and discard the skin. Continue to break off bite sized pieces of the meat from the entire chicken until most all the meat is picked clean from the carcass. Return meat to the pot, and discard bones.
Season the soup to your liking with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve at once.