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For Soul and Body: Chicken Soup

In my previous column  I mentioned Chicken Soup for flu prevention and to ease symptoms if you already have a cold, stuffed up nose, or the flu. How do you know the difference between a cold and the flu ? With a cold you don’t have a fever; with the flu you have cold symptoms plus both a fever and aches. Both are caused by viruses.  This soup, especially if made by someone who loves you, will have you feeling much better in no time.  If you’re okay but people around you, especially family or co-workers, are sneezing, coughing, or blowing their noses, you are exposed to the bugs. Make yourself a big pot of this Chicken Soup. It’s both cheering to your soul and a health booster for your body.

      Chicken Soup
       Serves 4 to 6
1 stewing chicken or chicken carcass or or turkey leg or 2 game hens
Water to cover
1-inch knob of fresh ginger root
6 to 8 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
About ¼ cup dry sherry wine
   Or  2 Tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt
10 peppercorns
  Or ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Mirepoix (see below)
½ cup pre-cooked brown rice, optional

Put the ingredients into a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer briskly until meat is falling off the bones, at least 2 hours.   Carefully remove the bones from the pot. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones. You will be surprised at how much meat a chicken carcass will yield.
While the those ingredients simmer, make the Mirepoix. (French cooks make it ahead and keep it on hand in their refrigerators or freezers.)

Mirepoix (say MEER-pwa)
¼ cup light olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 skinny or 1 thicker celery rib, washed and sliced
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves

Heat oil in a heavy skillet. Stir-fry the vegetables 5 minutes. Add the herbs. Stir-fry another 2 minutes. Add to the simmering soup pot. Return the meat pieces, large pieces cut to bite size,  to the broth. Bring to a boil. For a heartier soup, add cooked rice at this point. Reduce heat to medium-low. Serve steaming hot.

Enjoy for lunch or dinner.