Soups of Autumn Part 2: Chicken Soups

Island Epicure

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We hear a lot of sneezing and coughing now that the weather has turned cooler, and you can get caught in a shower while out for a stroll. Or you can just be around someone else who is sneezing and coughing, then find yourself sneezing or coughing, too. These are the days when a bowl of hot chicken soup hits the spot and can even ward off a cold or a touch of the flu.

The simplest chicken soup requires only that you cook a small chicken cut in serving size pieces, or a package of chicken thighs or drumsticks, in a large pot with a peeled onion, a scrubbed carrot or two, and a rib or two of celery, sliced, plus water to cover. Toss in a couple of cloves of peeled garlic and 6 whole cloves (a spice that’s antibacterial and antiviral).  Put a lid on the pot. Reduce the heat, and simmer until the meat is nearly falling off the bones, about 1 hour. Remove the bones. Leave the meat. Serve with toast or biscuits and butter, or with whole-grain crackers, and a side salad of leaf lettuce, apple chunks that you’ve given a bath in salted water so they won’t turn brown, and a few walnut halves artfully distributed.

For a more substantial meal that still wards off colds and flu, try this Chicken and Bean Soup accompanied by a green salad. The beans add B vitamins and calcium. The green salad brings healing chlorophyll, plus magnesium to enhance the nutritional performance of the calcium. Besides that it’s a pleasant change of texture after the soup.

Chicken and Bean Soup
3 to 4 servings
1 ½ pounds chicken pieces
4 cups water
½ large onion, peeled and wedge-sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
1 peeled garlic clove
1 thin cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
3 or 4 whole cardamom pods, optional
Salt and coarse black pepper to taste
1 potato, scrubbed and diced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 15-oz. can organic red kidney beans

In a large stockpot, bring chicken, water, onion, celery, garlic, and spices, salt and pepper. to a boil. Reduce heat and cook just above a simmer for 1 hour. Add potato, turmeric, and beans. Cool at a low boil for 10 to 15 minutes, until potato pieces are tender.
A teaspoon of ground cinnamon may be substituted for the cinnamon stick, and  ½ teaspoon ground cardamom for the pods and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves for the whole cloves