Oh. My. God….remember how I was on my deathbed last week? How I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and all of that? Well, turns out, I just had an upper respiratory infection, and that light? It was my son shining his flashlight into my face because a rainstorm knocked our power out. But, you guys! The end felt so close.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m sick with cholera (or a cold), I’m desperate to find some relief. It’s so difficult for me to remember what feeling healthy, well, feels like. I’ll pump myself full of vitamin C, slather Vick’s over every inch of skin, and drink tea by the gallon. I also make this Medicine Bomb Chicken Soup recipe by the vat.
Now, I know what you’re saying to yourself,
“Here she goes trying to pawn off some snake oil.”
I’m not. Rude.
But, I’m so serious when I say that this bowl of soup contains legit healing properties derived from the plants and herbs it contains. Follow me for a minute. When I first developed this recipe, I was, once again, on my deathbed. Yeah, yeah, I realize I’m on the verge of death quite often- pray for me. Dragging myself to my kitchen, I rummaged around to see what I could concoct that would give me the strongest boost of relief in the shortest amount of time.
Total transparency: if I had some morphine and vodka, your girl would’ve been sucking them both up at that point.
I found everything contained in this recipe and, quite literally, threw it into a pot to boil. The result was the best soup I’ve ever tasted. Honestly. I’ve tasted soups from all over the world, all over the world, and this is sitting pretty in the number one spot. My Twinks were beyond annoyed at how often (in between loud, obnoxious slurps) I mentioned it was the best tasting soup- EVER! “Yes, Ma, we know. If you would actually finish eating it, instead of telling us about how amazing it is, it may help your cold!”
Because the chicken soup is crammed with the herbs and plants, it may be a bit overwhelming to eat without straining it. I enjoy munching on the various bits and pieces- believing they’ll give me superhero powers or some crap like that. If you prefer to strain it, that works too. You’ll still have the life force of all the ingredients packed into the broth. Here’s what you’re going to be using:
Rosemary- which is an oral disinfectant. It’s beneficial because your mouth is all grimy and germy when you’re sick. I figured, “Hey! Disinfecting my mouth with rosemary tastes better than that gross medicinal mouthwash!” It also helps alleviate headaches and relieves fevers. Rosemary for the win.
Thyme has been commonly used as a treatment for coughs. Guess who was hacking up a lung? Me. It’s also a great source of vitamin C which, we all know, helps boost your immunity. I’m the type of person who should be confined to a bubble, so I’m all about immunity-boosting.
Oregano is also great for reducing coughs and bronchitis. The oils found in the oregano plant have medicinal qualities that help ease sinus pain and cold and flu symptoms. We could stop adding ingredients right here! But! I have paranoia, so no.
Lemongrass isn’t an herb, it’s a…well, it’s a grass. A plant, I should say. But this plant’s a mild astringent which helps mollify the sore throats that accompany allergies and illness. Lemongrass also helps with pain, I was in a lot of that. Speaking of pain, you have to beat up lemongrass with the butt of your kitchen knife to release its oils and flavor, but the addition of it to this soup makes the extra seconds of prep work well worth it.
Turmeric is an unsung hero of the medicinal plant world. This little knobby root has so many healing properties, it’s insane. Besides the anti-inflammatory qualities it’s packed with, turmeric is also a God-send at relieving pain of all kinds. It also stains like the dickens, so use an old cutting board and wear gloves if having orange fingers is going to bother you. Again, I just knew I was dying, so I didn’t care what color my fingers were.
Celery contains loads of vitamin C, the boss at boosting immunity. Some say it also relieves migraines (got ’em), helps to calm stress (got loads of that, too) and reduces blood pressure (check). Celery made the cut, literally and figuratively.
Ginger is my go-to for upset stomach, but it also is a pain reliever for upper respiratory infections and bronchitis (among other pains). Peeling ginger (as well as turmeric) is easy, just use the side of a spoon to scrape off the thin, papery skin.
Garlic is mostly known to be a heart health medicinal herb, but it also is great for healing coughs and colds. Too much of it will also cause bad breath, but when you’re sick you don’t care about talking to someone, let alone making out with them.
According to the National Onion Association, Onions can help reduce factors which lead to heart attacks and strokes. I just add them because they make the soup taste good.
Star Anise is something that, if you don’t already have, you need to get into your kitchen cabinet. Not only does its unique taste enhance the flavor of many Middle Eastern and Asian dishes, it also acts as an expectorant to help you get rid of all the gunk that builds up in your chest when you’re sick. It’s also known to help calm the nerves and to help get rid of flatulence…I don’t know what to say about that.
Chicken (Bone) Broth is something I feel strongly about. I spoke, at length, here about how I don’t agree with the claims that bone broth is a cure-all. I do, however, love bone broth for the sense of comfort it gives.
I’m on the mend. I’m back to feeling slightly normal- well, as normal as I can be (and we all know it ain’t that much). The Twinks are still in recovery, but I’m hoping that with a few more shots of this chicken soup, they’ll be right as rain.
Tell me, how was this cold and flu season for you and your family? Did you need this chicken soup as much as I did? Comment below and talk to me about it, then pin the recipe for making later.
Disclaimer: this recipe is not a cure for illness or medical issues. Please consult a medical professional if needed.
Medicine Bomb Chicken Soup
Yield 2 gallons
This medicine in a bowl is crammed full of herbs and plants which are known for their healing properties. Although I enjoy eating everything (sans bones) to get the most out of the ingredients, straining the soup is an option.
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 whole onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 head of garlic, peeled and sliced
2" piece of ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1" piece of turmeric, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
3 stalks of celery, sliced thinly on a bias
1 5" piece of lemongrass, bruised by smashing with the butt of a kitchen knife
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 tbsp of chopped fresh oregano or 1 tbsp of dried oregano
2 1/2 gallons of cold water
1 3-4lb whole chicken, cut in serving pieces (8) or 1 whole, cut-up chicken (giblets discarded)
2 tbsp of kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 star anise pod
In a large stock pot or soup pot, heat the oil over med-high heat. Add the onions, garlic and ginger, and allow to sweat for 3 minutes or until translucent.
Add the turmeric, celery, lemongrass, and the herbs and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the water to the pot, followed by the chicken, salt and pepper and finally, the star anise. Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to low.
Allow the soup to simmer on low for 1 hour.
Remove the soup from the stove and remove the chicken pieces from the soup. Shred the meat from the bones, discarding both the bones and the skin. Also discard the lemongrass, the star anise and the herbs' woody stems. See note. Adjust the seasoning, if needed, to your taste by adding more salt or pepper.
Ladle into bowls and serve while hot. The soup can be stored under refrigeration for up to one week or frozen for up to two months.
Straining isn't necessary, but may be desirable if you're not a fan of eating the pieces of plants.
First, allow the soup to cool slightly to prevent burns.
When the soup has cooled, place a colander or fine mesh strainer over a larger container to catch the soup. I usually place both into a clean sink in case I make a mess (which I often do).
Carefully pour the soup into the colander and allow to drain thoroughly.
Discard the strained bits of food.
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