Comfort Food – Chicken Soup Therapy

If you’re not sleeping, you have to eat, right? I do anyway, or I will get sick. Whenever I’m on a deadline – like now, 15th of October – I like to put in a few extra hours at night after the kids have gone to sleep. Of course deadlines are great, I doubt I’d get anything finished if I didn’t have them. I always see these times as what they are: intense phases of concentration, during which all else but work fades into insignificance. But since I do have children living with me, and they certainly have to eat, as do I, there’s that aspect to take care of.

You may have seen my last post. If you did, you know there was, book translation aside, a lot going on emotionally. Given the two time-zones this family is living in, we spent quite a number of late hours on the phone and on skype – another reason for not sleeping all that much, and a very good reason indeed for feeling the need for something soothing, hot and delicious …

To get to the point, for there is one to this post, here comes my recipe for chicken soup. It’s great for heartaches, headaches and misery of any kind. It’s also really really healthy;-) – and it rocks the Chi.

Best Chicken Soup Ever

1 whole chicken (organic if at all possible)

3 shallots

2 cloves of garlic

3 carrots

1 parsley root

3 cm piece of ginger

1/2 fennel bulb

1 leek, white only

2 celery stalks

1 tomato

fresh parsley

salt, pinch of sugar, black pepper to taste

Wash the chicken, peel and/or chop all your veg as necessary, and put all your ingredients plus 1,5 l of cold water in a large stock pot over medium heat. One more cool thing about this recipe is that you can, at this point, actually walk away from it for about 2 hours. Whenever you wander into the kitchen, check the liquid and seasoning once in a while, turn down the heat a little, maybe add water, or salt, but other than that just leave it be, it takes care of itself just fine.

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When the meat starts to fall off the bone, gently lift out the chicken with a slotted spoon. Debone, peel off the skin (both of which you toss, or pass on to hungry pets) and put the meat on an extra plate for later. Pour the soup through a fine sieve into a new cooking pot, reserving the broth and discarding all the veg. (I know this seems harsh, but at this point it’ll be overcooked, mushy and overall unappealing. Get rid of it! If you do feel you need veg in there, chop up a new batch – carrot, celery, parsley root, fennel, maybe green onion – and let simmer for 20 more minutes until tender, only putting the meat back in to serve).

If all goes well, you should now have a clear, fragrant, golden pot of happiness on your hands. Cut the meat into bite-size pieces and put it back into the broth. Serve with white rice or small pasta (again, children!).

If you have a fever, you can add chili, lemon juice and chopped cilantro, a dash of fish sauce and a slosh of good sesame oil. It’ll make you sweat out all those germs.

Get well, whatever is ailing you, and enjoy the pure bliss this soup brings.

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