Chicken Soup for a Summer Cold

I’m not sure if it’s worse to have a cold in the winter or the summer. Right now I have a summer cold. It’s interfering with all sorts of things, like breathing through my nose, talking at length, thinking, oh – and having outside summer fun.

chicken soup in a jarMike has pointed out that every time I visit with my niece I get sick. He might be right, but that’s not going to stop me from seeing family. Perhaps I should fortify myself with vitamins before our next visit. After our visit last week we all got sick. I guess kids are germy and they bring the germs back home to share with their family. Or perhaps these are west-cost germs that we hadn’t yet been exposed to. In any rate, I’ve been enjoying a little more rest and relaxing, internet-surfing time while I lie on the couch with my box of tissues.

It turns out that even in the summer I want soup and tea when I’m sick. In mass quantities. After purchasing soup for lunch the past few days I finally broke down and just cooked myself a big pot of soup. The weather has been a little cooler so the kitchen wasn’t unbearably hot. I’ve also noticed that store bought soups contain ingredients like hydrolized soy protein and dried whey. These unnatural ingredients appear even in seemingly low-fat “healthy” soups.

This is a really simple and easy chicken soup to make. I put it up before we sat down to dinner. By the time dinner was done and cleaned up, the soup was basically done. It will make many satisfying meals with very little effort. This is even better when you’re sick and don’t have much energy or mental capacity to cook.

For lunch I get to enjoy chicken soup in a jar! It travels nicely in a jar and I won’t have to worry about getting soup all over my bag. I can heat it up right in the jar at work and have a nice, neat container to eat lunch out of.

Simple Chicken Soup
makes 1 giant pot of soup
1 chicken
1 lb. carrots
1 onion
4 celery stalks
kosher salt
parsley (dried or fresh)
dill (dried or fresh)
1/2-3/4 box of small-shaped pasta, ditalini, orzo and pastina are all good shapes for soup. This time I used elbows.

1. Rinse chicken, remove the parts stored in the body cavity and discard. Trim any large pieces of fat.
2. Put chicken in giant pot (at least 6 qt., I use a 10 qt. pot) and cover with water.
3. Put pot over high heat and prepare other ingredients.
4. Halve and thickly slice onion. Peel carrots and cut into 4 inch pieces. Trim celery and cut into 2 inch section.
5. When chicken has been boiling for a few minutes, lower to simmer.
6. Add onion and carrots and generous amount of salt (~1 Tbsp.). Cover.
7. Let cook for 45 minutes or so and then check on it.
8. At this point fat and icky bits should start to rise to the top. Use a long handled spoon to skim off the fat and floating foam and scum. This is quite fun. Collect it all into a bowl to discard later.
9. Add celery, parsley and dill. If using fresh parsley and dill, use a generous handful, coarsely chopped (~1/4c.). If using dried herbs, start with 1 Tbsp. and adjust from there. Generally, you want more parsley than dill.
10. Cook another 15-30 minutes at a simmer, continuing to skim fat. Add more salt as needed.
11. Bring back up to a boil and add pasta. Stir and return to a simmer. Cook as directed by package (approx. 6-8 min.).
12. Remove pot from heat. Pull chicken out of pot and break into pieces, removing the bones. Add chicken pieces back into pot. Discard bones.
13. Taste one last time and adjust salt and seasonings as necessary. Serve and enjoy or pack up for later.

This soup will thicken over time from the pasta. This is a delicious and hearty soup that keeps well for several days, and even gets better over time. It should last you through an entire cold’s worth of soup meals.



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