Flu season is upon us and nothing “cures what ails ya” like homemade chicken soup. Recent scientific studies show that chicken soup really does have more medicinal value than a lot of over-the-counter medicines that just mask symptoms versus aiding your body in healing. In my recipe, every single ingredient is medicine–each delivering anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, immune-boosting magic. Coming from a Tex-Mex and Korean food background and now being a gluten-free Cali-girl home cook, my version of chicken soup includes all the standard components of this traditional wonder broth…with some delicious twists.
I’m revealing all my secrets here to keep you in the best health for 2016 and beyond. All of our sirens & scoundrels need to be in premium health for this year’s coming adventures, so we’ll get past this flu season together! First, let’s talk about the magic of all of these luscious ingredients:
–Coconut oil is extremely anti-viral.
–Garlic is also anti-viral, detoxes your body from heavy metals, aids in heart & bone health, is rich in manganese, vitamin B6 and that powerful vitamin C.
–Ginger root supports the digestive system, helps with nausea and is anti-inflammatory.
–Jalapeno is rich in vitamin C, has been proven to relieve migraines because of it’s anti-inflammatory properties and provides the brain with necessary amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
–Onions improve the working of vitamin C in the body, which boosts immunity. They contain chromium, which assists in regulating blood sugar. They are anti-inflammatory and heal infections.
–Chicken bone marrow thins mucus in your lungs, is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, aids bone health, heals the gut and fights infection in the body. Bone broth is the most important component, even more than the meat of the chicken. The chicken from the bone also provides protein.
–Carrots are rich in beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B-8, folate, potassium, iron, copper, manganese and fiber. They are high in antioxidants.
–Celery is very rich in vitamin K and contains folate, vitamin A, potassium and vitamin C. It is also known to be a big source of dietary fiber.
–Zucchini is a great source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, potassium, copper, phosphorus and a good source of fiber.
–Kale is high in fiber, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B-6, all of which support heart health.
–Mushrooms contain “good-for-your-bladder” selenium and are a source of vitamin D and iron.
–Parsley is magic for your system–being rich in vitamin C, vitamin B-12, vitamin K and vitamin A. It is immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, tones your bones and heals the nervous system. It also helps to flush out excess fluid from the body, supporting kidney function.
-Limes are very high in vitamin C and vitamin B-6 which supports the kidneys, urinary tract and respiratory system. They are anti-viral, aid in digestion and can rid the body of congestion and nausea.
***Food as medicine is pretty amazing and much tastier than aspirin or cough syrup. One thing I cannot express enough is the importance of using organic vegetables, organic non-hormone chicken and filtered water. When boosting the immune system and aiding your body’s healing, the good nutrients that you absorb could be counteracted by the amount of toxins you intake if you don’t use organic.
Chicken Vegetable Soup
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
½ bulb of Garlic (8 cloves)
½ large Red Onion (or 1 small onion)
3 inches of Ginger Root
½ large de-seeded Jalapeno
5 Chicken Legs
4 stalks of Celery
2 cups Kale
1/2 cup chopped Parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste
Melt the coconut oil in a pot. Mince the garlic. Chop the onion into chunks. Add both into the pot. Cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent and start to caramelize. Chop the ginger root into small chunks. De-seed and chop the jalapeno. Add to the pot.
TIP: I de-seed the jalapeños and do not use the seeds in the broth. The seeds will add a lot of spice, so you can add them in to meet your heat preference, but I find the green of the jalapeño is spicy enough on its own.
While the onion, garlic, jalapeño and ginger are cooking, cut the skin off the chicken legs.
TIP: Cut an incision along the bottom of the leg and then use a finger to create space between the skin and the meat, pull the skin down towards the “foot”.
Place the chicken in the pot and sear the meat. Turn the meat as it browns on the bottom side.
Add water to the pot just enough to cover the chicken legs. Continue to simmer over medium heat.
While the chicken is cooking, chop the carrots, celery (including any celery leaves), mushroom, kale and zucchini into small chunks. Mince the parsley. Allow the chicken to cook for at least 20 minutes. The longer you cook the chicken, the more bone marrow seeps into the broth. You want to cook it at the very least long enough that the meat falls off the bone.
Add the carrots, celery, mushroom and zucchini to the pot. Add more water to cover the vegetables. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat an additional 20 minutes. By this point, the meat should be falling off the bone.
Using a tong or forks, pull the meat off of the bones. You can leave the bones in the broth to continue to cook. Add the kale and parsley. Cook another 10 minutes.
Pull the bones out from the stock broth. Slice the lime into wedges. Portion out your soup into bowls and squeeze lime juice over the single servings so that it is fresh. Add as much lime juice, salt and pepper to your preference.
I mostly make this soup when I think I am coming down with the flu, but it is great as a detox or an anti-inflammatory remedy as well. It’s hearty enough that you can serve it as is or add a scoop of rice to make it even more substantial.
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Words & Recipe by Sarah Prikryl // Photography by Sarah Prikryl
© 2016 Sirens and Scoundrels