It’s no longer simply a folk tale or your grandmother’s remedy for the cold season. Chicken soup has shown to relieve the symptoms of a common cold and shorten its duration. According to a study from scientists based out of the Nebraska Medical Center, when chicken soup is consumed, it produces anti-inflammatory effects in the upper chest area which mitigates a cold’s ability to manifest itself there. In other words, that warm feel-good sensation homemade chicken soup gives you is actually your body defending itself from illness.
And yes, I did say homemade. The author of the study claims that ‘commercial soups varied greatly in their inhibitory activity’. She goes on to add that the addition of different types of vegetables can contain a number of beneficial substances which also mitigate cold symptoms. So there you have it, there really could be a super secret ‘Best Chicken Soup’ recipe out there. But I’m sure if you made it with care and attention, it’ll do just fine.
Winter is the perfect season for roasting root vegetables and meat in the oven. Instead of throwing away those chicken bones after roasting, turn it into delicious stock that will become the foundation of that cold-busting elixir.
Chicken Stock: Fill a stock pot with the chicken carcass, 2 onions quartered, a carrot, and cover with water until all the ingredients are submerged (I do about 4-5 quarts of water). Bring to a boil and then gently simmer for about 4-5 hours. Never boil a stock once it comes up to temperature. 4-5 hours seems like a long time, but I’ve found the slower process and gentle simmer results in a much deeper, silkier broth.
Once done simmering, strain the broth with either cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer twice to remove any sediments or impurities. Return to a pot and bring to a simmer again. Season with a combination of salt and soy sauce until the sodium level is to your liking. I’ve found the soy to be an unbelievable match with chicken stock, but a little bit goes a looong way.
I like to keep my chicken soup really simple to preserve the depth and flavor of the broth as the focal point. I add about a cup of uncooked rice, slice a half an onion into slivers, and grate about a tbsp of fresh ginger into about 4 cups of broth and simmer till the rice is cooked. Super simple, super delicious. What a perfect bowl for a winter’s day.