Chicken Soup for the Cold


I grew up in a house that believed in chicken soup for a cold. Although, my family’s version was an extra watered down Campbell’s chicken noodle, the idea of chicken soup as comfort food as stuck with me. It rarely made me feel better. Although, I do remember my great grandmother making a kind of chicken soup that was really yellow, had a lot of mushy stuff in it and really did make me feel better.  About four years ago, I stumbled across a Cuban restaurant while I was very very sick with the flu. I couldn’t bring myself to cook and my ex-husband sure wasn’t going to try and make me feel better, so I pretty much just ate out.

On this occasion the Cuban restaurant was serving homemade chicken soup. I ordered a bowl and couldn’t believe how much it reminded me of my Irish great grandmother’s soup. I ended up bringing two orders home with me and started feeling a lot better. After recovering from the flu, I went on a search to discover the ingredients in this soup. I knew, it had something like potatoes, but they weren’t. I went back to the restaurant and the waitress didn’t really know what was in the soup. She did know that the potato like mush was yucca and sweet potatoes. She also confirmed that there were also yellow potatoes in the soup. She said the key was the bone.

I didn’t have any bones in my soup. She said that you have to pull the meat off with your fingers. So I went to the store, bought a chicken, and went to making soup. It wasn’t quite what I wanted, but it wasn’t bad. It took me almost a year of trial and error to come up with the recipe that has cured many a cold and flu.

I don’t know how much of the cure is in my mind, heart, or reality. I do believe that it has to be cooked with love and healing intentions. As I cook, I literally envision pouring healing energy into the soup.  With each shake of salt, each dash of rosemary, each pinch of pepper I feel more and more love and health soaking into the broth.

So here it is: the recipe for heal it all chicken soup. It makes a LOT so be prepared.

1 whole chicken
1 bell pepper
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1/2 yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 medium yucca
2 golden yukon potatoes
1 sweet potato
2 red potatoes
annatto (whole)
fresh cilantro
2 bay leaves

Boil a large pot of water, add the salt and spices (except fresh cilantro). Crush the garlic into the soup. Crush the whole annatto in a mortor and pestle and add this as well.
With the water boiling, slowly add the chicken and make sure that water covers most of it.
Chop the potatoes and yucca. Add all potatoes except the sweet one.
Cut the carrots into small pieces, first into discs, and then quarter the discs. Add these.
Slice the celery and add them to soup.
Dice the onion and add to the soup. Dice the bell pepper and add.

Once the potatoes are soft, slice into a thick part of the chicken and make sure it is cooked. Once the meat is cooked, add the chopped sweet potatoes.
Once the sweet potatoes are soft, take out the chicken and pull the meat from the bone and return it to the soup.

Sorry that I don’t know many measurements for the spices, its pretty much an add as I go policy.
What brings on this post? Shiva has a cold now, so guess who is going to be having chicken soup tomorrow.


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