Homemade Chicken Soup: Your Food Rx for Flu Season!

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Have you ever wondered why chicken soup is the go-to food prescription when you’re sick? The secret is not in the stuff from the can; it’s in homemade bone broths. Besides being unbelievably flavorful, bone broths are also rich in:

  • Calcium and other minerals
  • Amino acids that help the body detoxify
  • Nutrients that build healthy cartilage
  • Gelatin, which aids digestion

Bone broth has a long history of healing: In fact, it was a staple in most traditional cultures’ diets. There’s even an old South American proverb that says, “Good broth will resurrect the dead.” So if you or somebody you know comes down with a nasty cold or flu this season, or you need some nourishing comfort in Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath, whip up a batch of this homemade chicken soup.

Chicken Broth
Makes about 2 quarts

1 whole organic chicken, rinsed (about 3½ to 4 pounds), giblets discarded
2 carrots, cut into thirds
2 stalks celery, cut into thirds
½ bulb fennel, cut into thirds
1 onion, quartered
5 sprigs of thyme
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
filtered water

Place all ingredients in large pot. Fill with just enough water to cover chicken. Bring to boil; lower heat to simmer. Cook 1½ hours. Skim impurities from surface periodically.

Remove chicken; set aside to cool. Strain broth through fine mesh strainer into large heatproof bowl. Start chicken soup recipe below.

Chicken Soup with Rice
Serves 4 to 6

1 recipe chicken broth (from recipe above)
1 whole organic cooked chicken (from broth recipe)
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
½ fennel bulb, thinly sliced
½ onion, diced
½ cup brown rice (optional)
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
4 sprigs of thyme
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons salt

Remove chicken meat from bones; discard skin and bones. Using hands, shred chicken in large bowl and set aside.

Heat olive oil in large pot. Add carrots, celery, fennel and onion. Cook until onions become transparent, about 5 minutes. Pour chicken stock into pot. Add parsley, thyme and salt. Bring to boil. Add shredded chicken and rice; lower heat to simmer. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through.

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