Many cultures see chicken soup as a nurturing food to help heal everything from the flu or a cold to restoring health post-partum. I see chicken soup as a collage that is endlessly changing each time I make it – lots of colors and options; have fun and experiment as you make it. The making is part of the healing. You can also use this same basic idea with stock made from turkey, beef, fish or vegetables.
- Homemade Chicken Stock (see recipe)
- Optionally choose some vegetables (carrots, celery, green/wax beans, tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, summer quash, winter squash, romaine, chard, spinach, Chinese greens, mushrooms, etc.) – cut into chunks
- Optionally choose a starch (noodles, rice, potatoes, quinoa etc)
- Optionally choose a protein (cooked chicken or turkey, egg)
- Optionally choose a legume (beans, peas, lentils)
- Optionally choose seasonings (soy sauce, miso, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, oregano, basil, Chinese herbs etc.)
- Optionally choose toppings (grated cheese, herbs)
Warm the chicken stock to a simmer.
If your vegetable choices cook relatively quickly you can just add them to the simmering stock; if they take longer you may want to steam or sauté them separately first.
If your chosen starch cooks relatively quickly you can just add it to the simmering stock; if it takes longer you may want to prepare it separately first; you don’t want to waste the richness of the stock just to cook the starch. Rice can be sautéed in butter or cooked in water. Noodles/pasta that take longer to cook should be cooked to al dente before being added. Potatoes should be boiled to barely tender, then cut into small pieces. Quick cooking grains like quinoa should be added at the very end when all other ingredients are ready.
Cooked meat should be added immediately before serving so the meat just gets warmed in the broth. If you are using an egg it should be stirred separately to loosely combine the yolk and white; add a small amount of stock to the egg as you are stirring it. The stirred egg should be added a few minutes before serving while the soup is still simmering. Stir the soup after adding the egg to form threads of cooked egg throughout the soup.
Legumes should be prepared separately and added not long before serving so the legumes are warmed in the broth before serving. You can either use canned or dry. If you use canned legumes drain them thoroughly and rinse a few times with water to remove as much sodium as possible.
Seasonings like parsley, soy, miso and lemon juice should be added within minutes of serving. Others earlier; have fun experimenting. This is an organic process that changes each time and part of the fun.
Add toppings to individual bowls when serving.