It’s cold and flu season in the heartland and you need a plan for when it hits your house. I have two words for you – CHICKEN SOUP. There’s a reason your mother fed you chicken soup when you had a cold – it works!

I like to add a generous amount of garlic to the classic broth, a tablespoon of tomato paste, some chopped parsley, and tiny star pasta. My sons like it with tortellini, Maurice Sendak liked it with rice, some prefer matzo balls, but lots of people love it with traditional egg noodles. 

Classic Chicken Soup

from Real Simple

Ingredients:

  • 1 3½- to 4-pound chicken
  • 6 carrots, peeled
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered
  • 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Directions:

  1. Place the chicken in a large pot. Cut 3 of the carrots and 2 of the celery stalks into 1-inch pieces. Quarter the onion. Add the cut vegetables to the pot with the salt, peppercorns, and enough cold water to cover (about 8 cups). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the top, until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and let cool. Strain the broth, discarding the vegetables. Return the broth to the pot. Thinly slice the remaining carrots and celery. Add them to the broth and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the meat and add it to the soup. Ladle into individual bowls.

I love the versatility of this basic recipe.!

You might decide not to add the remaining vegetables back into the broth and even save the chicken for another use, just consuming the healthy broth on its own.

You can add extra vegetables like potatoes, parsnips, spinach, kale, chard, cabbage, leeks, scallions, garlic, etc. You can even go Mediterranean and add a little lemon juice and zest and cooked orzo; or go Asian and add ginger, soy, shiitakes and ramen or soba noodles.

To your health!

Cook’s Note: Ever wonder what the difference is between stock and broth? Stock is always made with bones (not just meat), is not seasoned (until you use it in a recipe), and is thicker than broth. Broth can be made with bones but can also be made with just meat (or even just vegetables), and it’s seasoned for flavor.