I hate to burst your bubble but store-bought chicken soup is not going to make you feel better; in fact, it will probably make you feel worse. It's mostly water, salt, a chicken-like substance, maybe some gut-irritating noodles, and a whole bunch of chemicals that your body probably won't like very much.
My chicken soup, on the other hand, could be considered magical; except it's really just a simple matter of feeding your body with bioavailable nutrients. The real star here is the bone broth. You are going to squeeze every ounce of nutrient out of this chicken, including gut-healing collagen and loads of minerals from the bones, which is going to end up feeding you with healthy energy and filling up your nutrient stores so you can take on whatever illnesses this winter has to offer. I'm willing to guarantee that you won't get sick at all this year if you have this soup at least once a week. As soon as the weather changes, make a batch and freeze it; very little nutrients are lost by freezing.
This legit chicken soup is time-consuming to make, but please don't let that deter you; after all it's nothing compared to the amount of time you will lose if you get sick. It's actually very simple, and quite versatile. I prefer mine traditionally with onions, celery, tomatoes, and carrots, but you could certainly add whatever fresh or frozen veggies you have on hand. I've also enjoyed it with chopped up green beans, zucchini, and kale.
This ain't your mama's chicken soup. But it probably is how your great-grandmother used to make it.
Legit Chicken Soup
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 24-48 hours
You will need a large soup or stock pot. Rinse your chicken with cold water and be sure to remove any paper from the cavity (sometimes they wrap the organs up in paper and put them back in the cavity). You can either use the organs in the soup (they have LOADS of vitamins), or save them to cook later. I actually chop some up and give them to my cats--they love it--and throw the rest in the soup. Place the chicken in the pot and fill the pot up with filtered water until it covers the chicken (this should not be all the way, you need room to add vegetables). Add apple cider vinegar, and you can even add a little salt at this point. Cover and bring to a boil, and then let simmer for 24-48 hours.
Note: If you aren't going to be home or feel uncomfortable leaving your stove on overnight, you can do this entire step in a crock pot. Just put it on low for at least 24, but preferably 48 hours.
2nd Note: Some people prefer to wrap their chicken in a cheesecloth and tie that with twine to keep all the bones trapped so they don't have to sift through it later. I don't mind it, but this is fine if you prefer it. They sell Soup Socks for this purpose (see below) but I can't vouch for them. If I ever try it, I'll let you know.
Pour your chicken and bone broth through a mesh strainer, being sure to retain the liquid in a very large bowl. Let the chicken caught in the strainer cool.
While it's cooling, in the same pot you just poured from heat up ghee or fat of choice over medium-high heat. Add your onions, celery, and carrots and let cook until onions and celery start to turn translucent. Add tomatoes and cook 1-2 minutes. Pour just the broth back in.
At this point your chicken should be cool. Now you're going to have to get your hands a little dirty so make sure they are clean (this is probably why people like to use the Soup Socks). Mash your chicken down with a wooden spoon. Many of the bones will disintegrate which is exactly what you want in your soup...all those minerals! Separate any hard bones and discard them. Add the chicken meat back into the soup pot, along with the fresh parsley, and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste and let simmer until you are ready to serve.
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