Chicken soup has been used as a popular remedy for respiratory illnesses for a long time. In 2000, scientific exploration of this claim began and has continued. Wikipedia reports: “Chicken soup has long been touted as a form of folk medicine to treat symptoms of the common cold and related conditions. In 2000, scientists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha studied the effect of chicken soup in the inflammatory response in vitro. They found that some components in chicken soup inhibit neutrophil migration, which may have an anti-inflammatory effect that could hypothetically lead to temporary relief of disease symptoms. However, since these results have been obtained from purified cells (and applied directly), the diluted soup live The effect is debatable. The New York Times reviewed the University of Nebraska study, among others, in 2007 and concluded that “none of the research is conclusive and it is not known whether changes measured in the laboratory actually have a significant effect on people with symptoms of cold”.. “1
Chicken soup is one of my favorite things to cook. The recipe below is meant to make a large pot of soup. It’s a living room recipe in the sense that the basic format remains the same, but I will often rotate the ingredients in or out of it. When I feel like more green veggies, I will likely add bok choi or zuccini. Sometimes I add fingerling potatoes or yukon-gold. I often make a separate wild rice mix and add it to the finished product. Part of the fun of cooking this soup for me is the experimental factor.
An important way to vary the recipe is by using the Chinese herbs that I choose to include in the soup. The varieties have to do with the ends that I try to achieve with the formula. It takes some skill to achieve this without making the soup inedible due to the strong flavors of the Chinese herbs. Here are some simple herbal formulas that you can experiment with:
Immune boost: Huang qi (astragalus root) 30g, Fang feng (ledebouriella root) 10g, Bai zhu (attractylodis macrocephelae) 10g (don’t use if you are already sick!)
Qi Boost: Huang qi (astragalus root) 30g, Dang shen (codonopsis root) 30g, Bai zhu (attractylodis macrocephelae) 10g (don’t use if you are already sick!)
Blood Builder: Gou Qi Zi (Goji berry, Chinese goji berry) 30g, Hong Zao (jujube date) 15 pieces, Long Yan Rou (longan fruit) 15 pieces, Dang gui tou (Chinese angelica root head) 1 piece
Yin lung emptiness (dry cough): Bai He (lily bulb) 30g, Mai Men Dong (tuber ophiopogonis japonici) 15g, Jing jie (Herba Seu Flos Schizonepetae Tenuifoliae) 15g
Insomnia: Suan zao ren (zizyphus seed) 15g, Wu Wei Zi (schizzandra berry) 15g, He Huan Pi (mimosa tree bark) 10g, Bai Zi Ren (biota seed) 10g
These are just a few examples … there are many more possibilities! You will need to spend some time searching for a reliable source of good quality Chinese herbs to purchase and use in your soups. Let’s go to the recipe, below.
1 whole 5-6 pound chicken
2 large yellow onions, chopped
2-3 large leeks, halved and thickly sliced
2 bunches green onions, chopped
2-3 large shallots, minced
1 head garlic, thickly sliced
1 bunch of chopped celery
8-10 medium carrots, chopped
6 medium parsnips, chopped
3 to 4-inch chunk of fresh ginger, 1/2 thick sliced with skin, 1/2 peeled and julienned
2 tablespoons Herbs de Provence, crushed in a mortar with a pestle
Chinese herbs (as above), washed and soaked
2 boxes of Organic Chicken Broth
1.5 pounds shiitake mushrooms
1/4 cup tamari sauce
3 tablespoons mirin
Wash and soak the Chinese herbal formula for 30 minutes. Wash and chop and / or peel an onion and a shallot. Chop half the garlic, half the celery, half the carrots, half the parsnips, and half the ginger. Remove the shiitake stems and chop the stems (they are used for the broth). Remove the root part of the leeks and wash. Remove the root and the white parts of the chives, wash them and chop them. Add all of these vegetables to a large soup pot (at least 6 quarts or more). Remove the giblets from the chicken. Rinse chicken well under cool running water. Place the chicken in the pot on top of the vegetable broth and Chinese herbs. Add water to cover chicken or up to 1 inch below top of pot. Place the pot over high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Remove the lid and lower the heat to medium-low (enough to maintain a gentle simmer). Boil 30 to 40 minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165 degrees F (measured with a meat thermometer). While boiling, use a large spoon to skim off the surface of the grayish foam that builds up. Carefully remove chicken from pot and place on cutting board, cool. Lower the stove to simmer and allow the broth to simmer. Remove skin from chicken and discard. Remove the meat from the bones and carcass and place in a Pyrex container with a tight-fitting lid to store in the refrigerator. Break the bones and carcass apart and place them back in the boiling broth. Cook over low heat for an additional 40-60 minutes.
While the broth is simmering, wash, peel, and / or chop and / or slice the remaining vegetables. Place the Shiitakes and green onions in a bowl and the rest of the vegetables in a larger bowl, set aside. Remove from the heat and strain the broth. Discard feces from vegetable broth, herbs, bones, and carcasses. Add the vegetables and herbs de Provence to the pot and pour the broth over them. Add Mirin and chicken broth (from containers) to bring volume back to the top of the pot. Return to the fire and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and boil for about 25 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat uncovered. Add the mushrooms, green onions and Tamari and serve. Before refrigerating, allow the soup to cool for at least 30 minutes. For each serving, add the chicken meat from the separate container to taste.