Garlic, ginger and tumeric are must-have additions to chicken soup if you want to ensure your next batch of "Jewish penicillin" is a true flu-buster, rather than a mere folk remedy. A properly prepared pot of chicken stock is also essential. Chicken protein provides an ample source of cysteine - an amino acid chemically similar to a drug known as acetylcysteine, which can clear mucus. The gelatin in real stock also adds a velvety texture and a rich flavour.
For the stock
1 whole, small-sized chicken, (roughly 1.2-1.4kg) feet and neck included (optional)
2 large onions, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon (loosely packed) finely chopped sage
1 teaspoon (loosely packed) finely chopped thyme
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 large carrot
1 large stick of celery
For the soup
2 litres of chicken stock
2 cups shredded chicken meat (extracted from stock making recipe)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
1 1/2 cups finely chopped carrots
2 - 5 cloves garlic minced garlic (a garlic crusher works a treat)
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon finely grated turmeric
1 cup (loosely packed) finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup (loosely packed) finely chopped fresh coriander
1 can green lentils, drained and rinsed (optional)
generous seasoning of sea salt
Prepare the stock by placing the whole chicken (plus any additional bits: feet, necks, wingettes etc) in a large stock pot, with the herbs, vegetables, onions and vinegar. Cover with cold water.
Cook at a strong simmer, partially covered, for roughly 90 minutes. The chicken will be ready when the meat starts to separate easily from the bone.
Remove the carrots and celery from the cooking pot and discard. Drain liquid from the meat and set aside (you can keep the onions and herbs in the stock).
Separate the meat from the bone and set aside 2 cups of shredded chicken for your soup (any leftovers can be used in chicken sandwiches).
Measure out your stock – you should have roughly two litres. If you have more, you can reduce the liquid. If you have less, just add additional water.
Now you are ready to make your soup.
Add the finely chopped celery, carrots and a dash of olive oil to the bottom of a cooking pot on a medium heat. Let it simmer for 3-5 minutes or until the vegetables soften.
Add your stock to the cooking pot, together with the chicken meat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes or until vegetables soften further.
Add the garlic and spices and simmer for another minute or so. Season generously with sea salt. Remove the pot from the heat and stir through the coriander and parsley. Serve immediately.
Frugavore's tip: After removing the meat from the bones you can make another batch of stock by covering the bones with water, adding some thyme, celery, carrot and onion and simmering for a further two hours on the stove-top. Use this as a base for your next batch of soup.
Time saver: As a short-cut you can buy ready made stock and use chicken breast or leftover roast chicken. However, using a whole chicken is more economical and also provides leftovers for the next meal.