Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Pom's Chicken Soup
I am so certain that food plays a vital role in immunity building that I start the exercise (for it) by October itself. I remember growing up with troublesome sinus’ and spent a large part of my childhood wolfing down homeopathic meds, my mother was sure they didn’t work because I didn’t ‘believe’... as the irony of life unfolds, I only believe her and in alternative medicine now! So another part of my childhood was spent on ‘Septilin’, till an uncle sent us an article about how this preparation contained steroids! Mother had no option but to create a supplement that would relieve me of the godawful stuffiness I suffered 4 months of the year. She started making this awesome chicken soup (and this is way back in the 1980-90’s), she had a little German book that had one little paragraph about how chicken contained an amino acid released during cooking which chemically resembled the drug acetylcysteine, prescribed for bronchitis and other respiratory problems. ‘Bas’ that was it! We already had an accomplished, research scientist uncle who worked closely with the German pharma industries and he had a lot of faith in natural remedies... that was all the coaxing she needed and thereafter we had chicken soup 3 months of the year ... going on to year 25... I think!
I still make it, every 3 days, from October to February and I am certain it is helping. Ally does get the occasional sniffles but she is relatively better off each year, and this is despite pre-school and a class full of germ carrying munchkins! I get two meals/portions/dishes from one effort, so after Ally’s soup cauldron is ready, we get a pot full of stew. The recipe is simple; it’s made better by the prized crock-pot that I love. It has a tempered glass lid and a thick bottom, ideal for 3 hours of simmering.
1 whole chicken, skinned and cut into 12 pieces (throw in the liver and kidney, you can remove it when you serve, our family is not big on organs, but I keep the liver for my dad)
10-12 peppercorns (or more if you like to bite one when you eat!)
1” thick piece of cinnamon
4 – 6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp pepper powder
1 tsp salt
3 litres of water
Veggie combo options:
1. 2 potatoes cubed, 1 onion cut in four pieces, 2 carrots cut in thick pieces, ½ cup of peas
2. 1 cup big pieces of Cauliflower, 1 large potato cubed, 1 large onion cut in four pieces
3. 2 Potatoes cubed, 4 stalks of spring onions sliced, 2-3 celery leaves chopped
4. 10-15 leaves of Spinach, 2 potatoes cubed, 1 onion cut in four pieces
Try different combos or you won’t manage to make kids eat soup every day! Use big cut of veggies so everything doesn’t mush up with all the cooking.
Put everything in a crock-pot and bring to a boil. You may get a little scum on the top but I have noticed that if I wash the chicken well, there is less scum, same with the veggies, peeled and scrubbed well works better. Once it is on the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2-3 hours. Check in on it every once in a while, move it around a bit, add a cup of water if it reduces to more than half. Once you get a nice brown stock, use a colander or strainer to drain out more than half in a separate (large) vessel. Drop in a few of the veggies and spices and use a masher to make a pulp, pour in a ladle or two of the stock make the pulp drain through the colander holes and into the soup. This is the kiddie soup, this goes back on the fire and is thickened with ½ cup of cold milk and 2 tbsp of cornflour, use more if you want it thicker. You can take out a piece or two of the chicken and shred it up for the soup, if your baby is not fond of chewing meats in a soup or less than age 3, you can mince up the boiled chicken with a knife and put back in the soup. Fortify this with a nice dose of salt and pepper seasoning, you can add an egg drop once in a while, you can even put in boiled rice, noodles or pasta to make it a complete meal. Ally loves croutons in her soups, so she gets her carbs there!
You may have noticed that no fats were used in this prep, so feel free to add a dollop of butter to your portion.
Now you will be left with most of the veggies, the meat and part of the stock. Put this back on the fire with little more liquid if you like. Thicken the same way as you did for the soup, this may need a little more cornflour. This is the stew I serve the family (the grown up ones!). Spice it up with chilli flakes, or add ½ cup of grated cheddar for a robust Italian feel. You can season with Italian mixed spices or a nice pinch of oregano. Serve with a warm baguette and nothing else. Be well guys...eat your way to wellness.