Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.
Practically no one doesn't like chicken soup. Nearly every culture on the planet features some kind of chicken soup as part of its cuisine. Chicken soup is delicious, nutritious staple. It is mildly isotonic, and a good source of electrolytes, making it great for getting over colds. It features a nice balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. So, chicken soup is healthy, chicken soup is delicious, chicken soup is a winner!
Some of the best chicken soup I've had has also been some of the simplest to prepare. This recipe uses a whole chicken and makes a whole bunch of soup, about eight to twelve servings, depending on how hungry you are. For those tempted to cut the recipe in half, I point out that the soup freezes well, and that if you've got a big enough pot, and you're going to simmer a pot for five hours, then just go for it, and make a big batch.
For those who like pasta with their soup, no problem. Just whip up a quick batch of gluten-free noodles, and add them to a bowl of warm soup. You can do the same with rice, for an extra-hearty meal.
1 whole chicken (about 3 pounds)
1 large onion, cut in half
2 slices of fresh ginger root
3 cloves of garlic, cut in half
3 small potatoes, diced
4 carrots, cut in half
4 celery stalks, cut in half
½ to 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon, optional to taste
½ teaspoon thyme, chopped
1 Bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
water to cover ingredients
1 green onion to garnish, finely chopped, optional
1 lemon to garnish, optional
Wash the chicken thoroughly. Place the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf and ginger root slices in a large soup pot and cover with cold water. Heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken meat falls off of the bones, skimming off and discarding foam as it collects on top.
When the chicken is falling off the bone, remove from heat. Using a ladle or a cup, transfer the broth through a strainer and into a second pot or large container.
Pick the meat off of the bones and set aside. Slice the carrots, celery, onion, and any large chunks of chicken.
Remove the garlic cloves, bay leaf, and ginger slices and discard. Season the broth with salt, pepper and chicken bouillon as desired for taste.
Return the chicken, carrots, celery and onion to the pot, stir together to mix. Dish into bowls, garnish with a dash of green onion and serve with lemon wedge on the side.