Homemade chicken soup does wonders for the body and the psyche, especially during cold & flu season. The chicken itself contains an amino acid called cysteine that is released when cooked. This amino acid thins mucus in the lungs, aiding in the healing process. Besides, it just tastes good !
1 soup chicken, about 4-1/2 to 5 pounds
1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
2 carrots (don’t bother peeling them)
2 stalks celery, preferably with their leaves
4 or 5 fresh parsley sprigs
1 2-inch piece fresh gingerroot (optional)
2 bay leaves
10 to 12 cups water
2 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
3/4 cup barley, rice, or small pasta
1/2 teaspoon each: thyme, sage
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
To Make :
Remove the giblets and neck from the cavity of the chicken. Set aside the giblets for another use, and put the neck in the soup pot. Rinse the chicken under cold water. Cut the joints between the thigh and the carcass and the thigh and the leg. Put the chicken in the pot and add the onion, carrots, celery, parsley, gingerroot and bay leaves. Pour in enough water to cover the chicken.
Put the pot over medium-high heat and bring the liquid just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low; the liquid should bubble gently and slightly. Partially cover the pot and simmer for 3 hours.
Remove the pot from the heat and cool slightly. Strain the soup through a sieve into another pot. When the meat is cool enough to handle, separate the chicken from the bones and return to the pot. Discard the bones and cooking vegetables.
Add the carrots, celery, parsnips and barley to the pot. Simmer until the vegetables and the grains are tender. Stir in the thyme, sage and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.
Serve with a nice crusty bread, crackers or even better yet, a toasty Grilled Cheese Sandwich . Treat yourself well !