All of the hype about chicken soup really is true. It really does make you feel better when you are sick. And this version of the classic get-well-soup will actually help keep you from getting sick. I make many different versions of chicken soup during the winter. I make a big pot, put it in the fridge, and we eat it all week long. This recipe has a lot of flavorful ingredients, but the soup is actually very mild tasting. In a later post, I will share a spiced up version. Both will help you boost your immune system and keep the colds at a minimum.
I know it’s not very chef-y, but I usually don’t make homemade chicken stock when I’m making soup. I don’t like how fatty/oily it is, and sometimes I just don’t feel like waiting so long for it to cook. Here, I’ve used organic, boxed chicken broth and I’ve roasted the chicken separately.
I used some dried Chinese mushrooms. Chinese mushrooms strengthen the stomach, and lower the blood pressure and cholesterol.
If your mushrooms are dried like mine are, put them in a bowl with boiling water and let them rehydrate for about 30 minutes.
I used 5 different kinds of Chinese herbs. I added them to the broth at the beginning, so they would have enough time to infuse the liquid with all of their medicinal properties. These are: Astragalus, American Ginseng, Korean Ginseng, Chinese Yam, and Codonopsis Root. These herbs boost your immune system, give you energy, and in general, will keep you healthy during the winter.
Cut the ends off of either snow peas or snap peas (I used both) and throw them in the broth. Peas are great for digestion.
Add onions, carrots and celery to the pot. Slice your re-hydrated shrooms and add those too. Also add some garlic and ginger. Here’s where I added some barley. Barley is better than pasta; it reduces dampness in the body and is good for your energy.
Cut up some dill and add that too the broth.
Season your chicken…
Roast it, cut it up, and add it to the pot.
Add some Swiss chard. It is a natural detoxifier.
Leave it alone and let it cook. Enjoy!
Immune-Boosting, Vegetable-Packed, Chicken Soup With Barley
(makes 1 large pot)
3 qts chicken broth
1 cup dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes, then sliced
3 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 large onion, diced
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
4 sliced garlic cloves
1 cup barley, rinsed
10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup snow peas, cleaned and sliced
1 cup sugar snap peas, cleaned
salt and pepper
1 Tbs snipped fresh dill
1 bunch Swiss chard, sliced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large soup pot, heat 3 quarts of chicken broth over medium heat.
Add the sliced, re-hydrated mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion, ginger, and garlic. Bring to a boil. Add the barley, and reduce to a simmer. Let cook for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on a baking sheet. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bake until almost done, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cut into bite-size pieces. Add to the soup.
Add the snow peas and sugar snap peas to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the dill and the chard. Stir. Cover and cook about 30 minutes.