If you're ever feeling the hints of a cold, and you want to fight it off before it hits, this is your magic weapon: Immune Boosting Chicken Vegetable Soup.
Staying Healthy requires nourishing your body with good healthy food
I don't get sick anymore and it's amazing! Well, at least when I am following my own advice I don't get sick. Ever since I started eating clean, it just didn't happen anymore.
Last month I even had a close call. At a close friend's wedding, we celebrated with late nights and a lot of cocktails, and this group is known to get a little rowdy. Needless to say, it wasn't exactly the best immune-boosting type of weekend. Additionally, I accidentally drank from my friend's water bottle who was actively sick with strep. Eeek!
Normally, I would have just hunkered down and waited for the incubation period to pass knowing that sickness would soon strike. I would inevitably get sick, too.
My immune system is the bomb and it fought it off all on its own!
Then last week I decided to push the boundaries. I made bad choices. I had dairy twice, I ate at a questionable restaurant and I got very little sleep. Somehow, I still thought my body would be able to handle it. What I didn't anticipate was a high-stress work week and little sleep.
All of those individual choices and circumstances created a perfect storm that hit me like a ton of bricks.
Now I feel like I jinxed myself even saying that I don't get sick anymore, because... Murphy's law. But I also know that I brought this on myself and it's a great reminder of why I choose to live healthy and eat clean. I want everyone to have the freedom from colds! (including me!)
Why this Recipe Works
This recipe is a favorite of mine to keep the immune system strong and fight off colds before they happen. But, this week I'm eating the soup to nurse me back to health.
Whether you are trying to prevent a cold, stay strong through the upcoming temperature changes or nurse a cold, here's the recipe.
Make the broth and the soup at the same time!
One very cool thing about this soup is you cook the chicken while making the broth and simmering the soup at the same time. It saves time, reduces ingredients, and makes for an amazingly rich flavor.
That is why I recommend using bone-in chicken.
Removing the bones
You need a fool-proof way to remove the bones from the soup before you use the immersion blender. This will make your life easier and this recipe quicker.
More importantly, it safeguards against bone-fragments in your soup.
Simply wrap the chicken in cheesecloth and submerge the entire wrapped bundle into the soup. Then, remove the bundle, separate the meat from the bones, and return the meat to the already blended soup.
You can compost the bones in your city's industrial compost or use them to make broth. I typically get 2-3 uses out of my bones.
Cutting and pureeing the vegetables
Finding the right size of vegetable
The size of your veggies is a personal choice. You will have to choose the size of the vegetable that is right for you. You can have big chunks or small cubes.
The key thing is to be consistent and make all of your veggies about the same size
Blend some of the vegetables into the broth
There are two keys to the rich, thick and borderline creamy broth in this dairy free soup: time and an immersion blender.
After simmering the soup, you will want to remove the chicken and chicken bones in the cheesecloth leaving just the broth and vegetables in the soup pot. At this point, you will have well cooked vegetables and pretty clear broth.
Use an emulsion blender to purée a small portion of the vegetables for about 1 minute. This allows some of the vegetables to thicken the broth.
I like to puree about one third to half of the vegetables into the broth, leaving the others as chunks in the soup.
This recipe is a starting point that also allows you to get creative!
You don't have carrots but you have turnips? Swap 'em out!
Hate sweet potatoes? Use golden potatoes.
Don't have bone-in breasts? Use thighs or leftovers from a whole roasted chicken.
The point is, this is a great "everything but the kitchen sink" soup.
I buy the ingredients to make this recipe as listed below quite regularly. However, some alternation of this is often my "oh no- I have a ton of food and I'm flying tomorrow and it will all go bad unless I make something out of it and freeze it for later" solution.
Whew- that was a mouthful- but it really works with lots of substitutions and adaptations.
If you are looking for more delicious winter soup ideas, try this creamy potato with Italian sausage and pea shoots or homemade Pho bowl.
And if you want something quicker, go for the 5 minute Thai Pumpkin Curry Soup or the 10 minutes Tahini Pumpkin Soup.
Immune Boosting Chicken Vegetable Soup Recipe
- Soup pot
- Stove top
- Cheesecloth (optional)
- Emulsion blender (optional)
- 1 red onion
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 sweet potato diced
- 4 carrots sliced
- 1 zucchini slices in half circles
- 1 celery diced
- Salt about a tsp, more or less to preference
- Pepper a few shakes or grinds
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp marjoram
- 1 chicken back
- 1 bone in chicken breast
- Dice a small red onion.
- Heat avocado oil on medium on stove in large soup pot.
- Add diced onion and Sauté
- Meanwhile, dice the sweet potato
- Add the sweet potato to the onion. Add water until both are covered (4-6 cups)Slice the carrots and add to pot
- Dice celery and add to pot
- Quarter the zucchini long ways (hot dog style) and dice. Add to pot
- Add spices and mix in (salt, thyme, marjoram, pepper)
- Place chicken back and bone in breast into cheesecloth. Tie cloth into a knot to create a chicken package, then lower wrapped chicken into the soup
- Make sure the water covers all of the soup ingredients. If not, then add water until they are covered
- Cover and simmer at on medium high for 45-55 minutes or until chicken appears cooked through
- Uncover and simmer, letting the liquid boil off and leaving a heartier thicker soup base - this takes anywhere from 30 min to an hour and a half depend on your altitude and how thick you want the soup.
- Remove the chicken breast and back. Discard the back and the bones from the breast. Shred the chicken
- Use an emulsion blender to purée a small portion of the vegetables for about 1 minute. This allows some of the vegetables to thicken the broth
- Add the chicken and mix back in with the soup
- Serve and enjoy!
- The size of your veggies is a personal choice. You can have big chunks or small cubes. The key thing is to be consistent and make all of your veggies about the same size
- The bone-in chicken is key for this recipe to work. The bones give lots of flavor to the broth and also provides key amino acids to heal your gut and boost your immune system, like glutamine.
- There are 2 ways to add the chicken: directly to the pot or in cheese cloth. After it's cooked you'll pull out the chicken, discard the bones and cartilage, shred the remaining meat and then add the chicken back to the soup. If the thought of possible bones being left behind grosses you out, just wrap the meat in cheese cloth before putting it in the soup. Then you'll be sure to extract all the bones. I personally prefer to just roll with it directly in the pot and don't mind if I find a stray bone in a bite or two because it saves me from having to use cheesecloth. But if I'm making it for others I use the cheesecloth.