Join Me in the Kitchen

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Contributing Writer
Vicki McGraw

OK…What IS the deal with this weather?? Holy moly…we have gone from sunny springtime back to frost bite in a matter of days (almost overnight!). We have had enough winter, thank you very much! I think the worst part of this cold dampness is the never ending sniffles and colds everyone seems to have. I don’t recall a season where more people have complained about feeling yucky, and it’s not just from the lack of warm, sunny days!

As most every Mom and Grandma will tell you, one of the best cures for what ails you is chicken soup…and I for one am a very strong supporter of that theory. While it’s not medically proven, as far as I’m concerned, nothing makes the aches lesson quicker than a steaming bowl of rich broth loaded with chunks of chicken and tender noodles. Think about it…the steam will help clear your sinuses, the warm broth soothes an aching throat, the chicken will provide nourishment for a weary body and the love included when you make it will soothe the soul!

In my opinion, chicken soup is one of the easiest and most versatile soups you can make. Whether you start from scratch with a raw chicken or cut a few corners and open a can of broth, the additions you can make to create your very own homemade soup are endless. Watching your weight? Start with a low fat broth or simply chill your homemade stock and skim off the solidified fat to cut the fat content. Likewise, you can limit the sodium you add and keep the flavor by substituting other herbs or spices. I like my soups to be really hearty, so I add not only lots of meat, but chunky veggies as well.

Chicken soup is a great way to repurpose leftovers, too. That handy can of chicken stock I like to keep in my cupboard will turn leftover rotisserie chicken into a terrific soup for lunch the next day. If I find myself with a cup or two of leftover chicken and gravy (after last night’s chicken and biscuits), a little half and half added to the gravy will give me a creamy chicken soup too good to pass up.

Whether it comes from a can or your own handy work, nothing says “I love you, feel better soon” or “seriously, spring MUST be just around the corner, than a warm bowl of soup!

Spring Thyme Chicken Soup

Serves 8

  • 1 whole chicken, cut up (or 4 leg ¼ s)
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t pepper
  • 1 lemon, cut in ¼ s
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine
  • 8 cups of water
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, cook chicken with salt, pepper, and lemon for 1- 1 ½ hours (until chicken is falling off the bones). Once chicken is very tender, remove chicken from the broth (saving broth for next step). Carefully remove skin and bones from the meat and chop chicken to bite sized pieces, returning the meat to the reserved broth.

Put all remaining ingredients into the broth with the chicken. Cook over low heat for 1 hour. Remove thyme bundle before serving.

Serve with crusty bread…Yummo!!