The recent week or so of high 60 degree weather may have lulled us West Coasters into mislaid dreams of warm spring hikes and short sleeves, but unexpected attacks of “winter jacket weather” sadly snaps us back into the reality that it is, in fact, only February. And though it may be sunnier than just about anywhere else this time of year and our “winter jacket weather” may be laughable to a good majority of the country – it’s not so funny how many people are still succumbing to the nasty flu season we got hit with this year. And the colds! In my opinion the only thing crueler than having a cold is having a cold when it is blazingly sunny and cheerful outside. So in light of the spate of people I know who have gotten sick this week and with fingers double crossed that my family remain immune – this week I’m posting up my chicken soup recipe. Nothing is more satisfying when you’re feeling crummy and I’ve packed mine with good-for-you stuff like ginger, scallions and leafy greens to help your body heal. I also like it spicy, especially when a head cold has my sinuses clogged up. When I’m sick a big, steaming bowl of this soup is like the biggest, best hug I’ve ever had.
Spicy Chicken Soup with Orzo aka: Comfort for a Cold
- 2 Boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into very small pieces OR 2 cups shredded pre-cooked or leftover chicken
- 8 cups Chicken broth
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 jalapeno, chopped fine (remove the seeds if you like it a little less spicy)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch fresh ginger, minced OR 1 tsp ginger powder
- 1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed
- Good handful of Parsley (On stems)
- 3 or 4 scallions
- 1 cup cooked orzo pasta (also good with rice or any other tiny pasta)
- 1/2 bunch chard or other hearty green such as Kale, chopped
- Olive oil
- Salt / pepper
- Juice of half a lemon
- Heat oil in a dutch oven or other heavy bottomed soup pan and saute onion, carrot, celery, jalapeno, garlic, ginger and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper.
- When soft and fragrant add chicken and cook till almost done (if you are using the already cooked chicken just heat through and skip to the next step)
- Add your garbanzo beans and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add parsley (let the parsley sit on top so you can remove it later)
- Cover and cook for at least 30 minutes so the flavors can blend, but you can definitely let it simmer for up to an hour.
- About Five minutes before you are done simmering the soup remove the Bay leaf and parsley and add the greens, scallions and lemon.
- Check your seasonings and add more as needed.
- Serve in a big bowl with a generous spoonful of the cooked orzo.
Now take in a deep breath of that steamy soup and prepared to be hugged – then curl up with your coziest blanket and get back to bed! And remember, when you’re under the weather or even feel like you might be coming down with something it’s extra important to drink lots and lots of water to keep your system flushed and hydrated.