“Ah, I feel sick, I think I am coming down with a cold,” wails my teenage son as he comes home from school.
“Oh dear, you do look a bit pale, I’ll make some Chicken soup for you to…” I begin to say before I am abruptly cut off with a Talk to the Hand kind of gesture, frequently observed in male adolescents.
“Fine,” I then respond, “but it helps me feel better, when I feel ill,”I plead, as the teen, now making a swift exit from the kitchen, heads straight for the lounge. In one swift movement, he has grabbed the remote control and launched himself into the air, landing lengthwise on the ‘Ektorp’ [Read: Ikea for Lounge] ala ‘lounge lizard’, on valium.
During this aerial display, Number 1 son and older brother to the Teen, my 20 something self-confessed ‘germophobe’ who is seated on the floor in front of the TV, (as apparently we have no chairs in this house), looks on horrified. It is clear he is nearly beside himself with the knowledge that something as infectious as the common cold virus, has entered his personal space and so abruptly leaves the room, mumbling something about establishing a quarantine zone, and swearing not to touch the TV remote for at least two weeks!
Amidst the sniffles and sneezes, now reaching somewhat of a crescendo, I prepare the ingredients for Grandma’s soup – adding extra parsley, garlic, all manner of vegetables and a bit of extra salt. Believe it or not, salt can actually be good for you when you are sick, (just make sure to drink plenty of water/fluids with it to prevent dehydration). This is basically the only time eating something as salty as potato crisps could be seen to do any modicum of good, so make the most of it, I say.
And believe it or not, there is now proof that Grandma was right, after all, in serving up Chicken soup when someone in the family is sick, so there is ‘method in my madness’, (if you’ll excuse the cooking pun).
Researchers have found
“chicken soup does have a mild anti-inflammatory effect and can reduce the impact of a cold. The American journal of Therapeutics says carnosine in chicken is the ingredient that most likely helps our immune system.” Fitwise Magazine 2014
Furthermore, Lisa Renn of the Dietitians Association of Australia says,
“there are studies that say chicken soup is beneficial in improving symptoms such as a runny nose, coughs, sneezing, sore throats and chills.”
So what, you might ask, does the ailing teen do when I place a tray of hot, steamy, freshly- made chicken soup on his lap? Gobbles it up so fast, it is practically inhaled!!! And yes, despite the glazed looks teens often give you when the TV is on, I did hear a nasally, “Thanks Mum,” somewhere amidst the slurping noises, which like Grandma’s Chicken soup, warms my spirit!
Grandma’s Chicken Soup
I Chicken Breast, sliced thinly
400 mls good quality chicken broth
(either make your own from boiling a whole chicken or use a stock cube/prepared broth – I use Campbells)
2 medium onions sliced/diced as you prefer
2 sticks celery, finely diced
1-2 cloves garlic
2 carrots, julienned
Shallots – 1/4 bunch, finely sliced
I large handful of Parsley, diced
1/4 cup frozen beans or peas
Creamed corn – I medium can, drained
Sweetcorn kernels – I small can, drained
Lemon juice ( 1/2 lemon)
1 egg, lightly beaten
(Optional) 2 Handfuls of any other vege such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sweet potato, that you may wish to us, diced shredded or broken into small florets.
salt and pepper to taste
After sautéing the onion, garlic and celery in a large saucepan,
Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
Add carrots and optional veges and cook for around 6 minutes
Add the chicken strips and stir till they change colour and cook through completely
then add the shallots, parsley, frozen beans/peas, and cook a further 2-3 minutes
Add corn, lemon juice and finally add the egg, whilst stirring
Add seasoning to taste.
Serve with bread or alone, it is oh, so good!
Serves 4 people ( or 2 teens)
Variant: Throw in 1/4 cup Arborio rice and stir – cooking the dish, for another 8 minutes or until rice is completely cooked through. This turns it into a thick casserole type of dish.
And you can cook this in the Slow Cooker and return home at the end of the day with the house smelling like Grandma, in a good way, of course!!
Grandma’ s Chicken Soup – Something to Ponder About