by Alissa Segersten, Contributing Author
I created a chicken soup recipe with immune-boosting ingredients, such as the herb astragalus, fresh ginger, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, and red chili flakes. The astragalus and shiitake mushrooms stimulate cells that attack viruses and harmful bacteria. The ginger and chili flakes add heat to stimulate the sinuses to drain. Ginger is also a broad-spectrum antimicrobial and is an amazing anti-inflammatory herb. —Alissa Segersten
Your grandmother was right … chicken soup is one of the best medicines when you are sick.
You might want to consider gathering ingredients for homemade chicken soup before reaching for that over-the-counter cold medicine. Soup made from whole chickens is rich in carnosine, which has been shown to inhibit damage from viruses in the body. Beyond that, doesn't it just feel good to sip on a warm, brothy soup when you are under the weather?
This is one of my favorite soups to make during cold and flu season. Feel free to add any vegetables you prefer. Diced yams or winter squash are an excellent addition, so are finely chopped hot peppers. You can also replace the napa cabbage with either green or savoy cabbage.
- 1 whole organic chicken (4 to 5 pounds)
- 16 cups water
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 4 to 5 shiitake mushrooms, chopped
- 1 whole head garlic, cut in half cross-wise
- 2 to 3 inches fresh ginger, cut into thin slices
- 2 tablespoons dried astragalus* (optional)
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped (optional)
*Astragalus is available in the bulk department at the Co-op's Downtown store.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 to 3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
- 4 to 5 cups sliced napa cabbage
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- In an 8-quart stockpot, add all broth ingredients. Cover and simmer for about 1½ to 2 hours on low heat.
- Place a large colander over another 8-quart pot or large stainless steel bowl. Pour the broth through it to strain out the chicken and vegetables. Place the pot of broth back on the stove. Place the chicken onto a plate to cool.
- Bring the broth to a boil, add all of the soup ingredients except the napa cabbage and cilantro. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- While the vegetables are cooking, pull all of the meat from the chicken and cut into smaller pieces. Add the chicken to the soup.
- Once the vegetables are tender, turn off the heat and add the chopped cabbage and cilantro. Taste and adjust salt and seasonings if desired.
Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition and Nourishing Meals, the mother of five children, a whole-foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, and paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole-foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole-foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book.
Learn more at nourishingmeals.com.