With Australia in the midst of winter colds and what seems now the ever-present spectre of Covid threatening us, it seems fitting I re-visit an old recipe post from pre-Covid times.
It has been some time since I cooked Chicken soup for a sick teenager, but I remember it like it is yesterday.
Chicken Soup Makes you Feel Better
Setting: Pre – Covid days when teenage boys roamed my house
“Ahhhh, I feel sick, I think I’m coming down with a cold,” wailed my teenage son as he came home from school, one day.
“Oh dear, you do look a bit pale, I’ll make some Chicken soup for you to…” I begin, before I am abruptly cut off with a, ‘Talk to the Hand,’ kind of gesture, frequently observed in male adolescents.
“Fine,” I then respond, trying not to feel rejected and putting on a nonchalant face. “But it helps me feel better, when I feel ill,” I plead, as the teen, now making a hasty exit from the kitchen, heads straight for the lounge.
In one swift movement, he has grabbed the remote control and launched himself into the air, landing lengthwise on the Ektorp lounge like some ‘lounge lizard‘, flaked out on sedatives.
During this pseudo-aerial display of slothfulness, Number #1 Son and older brother to the Teen and self-confessed germophobe seated on the floor in front of the TV, [apparently, there are no suitable chairs in the house], looks at his brother in horror.
It is clear he is nearly beside himself with the knowledge that something as infectious as a common cold, has entered his personal space and so abruptly leaves the room, mumbling something about establishing a quarantine zone, and swearing not to touch the TV remote, for at least two weeks!
Unsurprisingly, I know his father will hold no issue with that comment, detected by the sudden throat clearing and smirk I see building across his face.
Amidst the sniffles and sneezes, now reaching somewhat of a crescendo from the lounge lizard, I begin to assemble the ingredients for Grandma’s Chicken soup – lots of parsley, garlic, all manner of vegetables and a bit of extra salt.
Salty Foods are Helpful
Believe it or not, salt can actually be good for you when you are sick, (just make sure to drink plenty of water/fluids with it to prevent dehydration). This is basically the only time eating something as salty as potato crisps, could be seen to do any modicum of good, so make the most of it, I say.
Believe it or not, there is now proof that Grandma was right, after all, in serving up Chicken soup when someone in the family is sick, so there is a method in my madness, (if you’ll excuse the cooking pun).
The Science of Eating Chicken Soup When you are Sick
Researchers have found
“…chicken soup does have a mild anti-inflammatory effect and can reduce the impact of a cold. The American journal of Therapeutics says carnosine in chicken is the ingredient that most likely helps our immune system.”Fitwise Magazine 2014
Furthermore, Lisa Renn of the Dietitians Association of Australia says,
“there are studies that say chicken soup is beneficial in improving symptoms such as a runny nose, coughs, sneezing, sore throats and chills.”Dietitians AA
So what, you might ask, does the ailing teen do when I place a tray of hot, steamy, freshly-made chicken soup on his lap?
He gobbles it up so fast, it is practically inhaled!!! And yes, despite the glazed looks teens often give you when the TV is on, I did hear a nasal, “Thanks Mum,” somewhere amidst the slurping noises, which like Grandma’s Chicken soup, warms my spirit!
Grandma’s Chicken Soup Recipe
- 1 Chicken Breast, sliced thinly or cooked leftover chicken
- 400 mls good quality chicken broth (either make your own from boiling a whole chicken or use a stock cube/good prepared broth – I use Campbells)
- 2 medium onions sliced/diced
- 2 sticks celery, finely diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 2 carrots, julienned
- Shallots – 1/4 bunch, finely sliced
- I large handful of Parsley, diced
- 1/4 cup frozen beans or peas
- Creamed corn – I medium can, drained
- Sweetcorn kernels – I small can, drained
- Lemon juice ( 1/2 lemon)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- salt and pepper to taste
2 Handfuls of any other vegetable, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sweet potato, that you may wish to use, diced, shredded or broken into small florets.
- Sauté onion, garlic and celery in a large saucepan
- Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
- Add carrots and optional veges and cook for around 6 minutes
- Add the chicken strips and stir till they change colour and cook through completely
- Add the shallots, parsley, frozen beans/peas, and cook a further 2-3 minutes
- Add corn, lemon juice and finally add the egg, whilst stirring
- Add seasoning to taste.
Serve with bread or alone, it is oh, so good!
Serves 4 people (or 2 teens!)
Throw in 1/4 cup Arborio rice and stir – cooking the dish, for another 8 minutes or until rice is completely cooked through. This turns it into a thick casserole type of dish.
Slow Cooker Chicken Soup Option
Throw all the ingredients in the Slow Cooker adding water to cover and return home at the end of the day with the house smelling like Grandma – in a good way, of course!!