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Chicken Soup Time

Island Epicure

People these winter days are either fighting off a cold or the flu, shopping for cold remedies, turning up the heat, or looking back at all those not very healthy Christmas goodies and vowing to restrain themselves in the future as they gargle sore throats and blow their noses. It’s time for grandma’s cold remedy: warming, energizing, flavorful chicken soup!

The Chinese members of our extended family have their energizing, curative soup, too, and (surprise! surprise!) it , too, contains chicken. Also in it mushrooms, garlic, onion, carrot, and hot chili peppers.  It’s a complicated, time-consuming soup with some other ingredients we don’t find in our supermarkets.

So I will  give a simplified version borrowed and adapted from Judith Benn Hurley’s book “The Good Herb.

Asian Energizing Chicken Soup  
        6 large servings

8 dried shiitaki mushrooms and Hot water to cover
1 slice or small knob ginger root
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 hot chili pepper, minced (wear rubber gloves)
 ¾ cup brown rice
6 cups chicken broth or two or three chicken thighs
And 6 cups water
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
Or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon extra virgin cold pressed olive oil

Garnish: minced fresh green onion or shallot
Soak the dried mushrooms in the hot water while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
In a large stew pot, combine ginger, garlic, onion, carrot chili pepper, rice and dried thyme. Add water and chicken thighs. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender and rice and chicken are done. Add the olive oil and give it a swirl with a large wooden spoon or a ladle.  Serve hot. Cool leftover soup, decant into a jar with a tight fitting. Label, date, and refrigerate. Reheat and eat within four days, or reboil, cool and store as before.

Note: Thyme yields 5 milligrams of iron per Tablespoonful.