There’s something about a bowl of chicken noodle soup that resonates with many people. Perhaps it’s the era in which I grew up, but if one was sick, you’d often be met with a warm bowl of nourishing soup. For some it’s tomato, others split pea. Regardless, most have a soup close to their heart, riddled with nostalgia.
Personally, I wouldn’t call myself a “health nut”. For every healthy item I create I’m sure to consume something equally bad for my system. However, the amount of sodium in store-bought canned soups is not only astonishing, but horrendously terrible for you. Plus, it’s just not worth it. Like with many foods, if you can cook something which tastes better than the store bought product and doesn’t harm your system as much, why do anything else?
Because chicken soup is often remembered as something nurturing, soul-filling, it’s important to pay homage while cooking / prepping. When sick our body is chaotic, constantly fluctuating and fighting. As such, you want food with a grounding effect, able to soothe and stabilize your energy. Music is an appropriate companion during preparation. A calm tune steady in its deliverance, but also heartwarming. Nothing to have you bouncing off the walls singing, but instead reflecting on beautiful moments in life, or events to come.
Usually, I’ll lean towards something without lyrics, of a classical or instrumental nature. But don’t forget, the most important intention to hold and infuse your cooking with (in this particular case) is one of love and comfort.
Ingredients needed: Chicken, Broccoli, Carrots, Celery, Chicken Broth, Noodles, Salt, Garlic, Pepper, Basil, Butter, Olive Oil, Ginger (optional).
Chicken Broth: Preferably organic and low sodium. Pour entire container into pot, then fill equally with water.
Carrots & Celery: Cut both into small slices, appropriately 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch in width. Place the chopped veggies in the pot, set it to boil, and place a lid on top. It’s important to give the celery and carrots time to soften, as well as boil out, mixing the flavour with the broth to create a chicken / vegetable broth.
Broccoli: While the other veggies cook it’s good to prepare the broccoli, cutting off some (but not all) of the stem, and making sure the pieces are no bigger than an inch or so in diameter. You don’t need to be precise here, but if you have any really big pieces try to cut them into a couple smaller ones. Add to the soup once the carrots and celery have been boiling for around 10-15 minutes.
Chicken: Cut into small chunks, then coat in a light layer of olive oil so they don’t stick while cooking. Place in pan with a spoonful of butter, close the lid, and cook on medium heat mixing occasionally. NOTE** Only cook the chicken about 3/4 of the way, then add to the soup. It will finish cooking while the soup boils, enhancing the flavour. Pour entire contents of chicken pan into the soup (juices included).
Seasoning: Add a healthy amount of basil, salt, garlic, and pepper to the boiling soup around the time you add the broccoli. If you’re someone who enjoys ginger (as I do), and don’t mind your soup having a little “kick”, add some after you’ve combined the chicken. Careful though, too much and it will over-power the other flavours.
Noodles: I chose Fusilli noodles in this case, but any type of noodle should do fine, including gluten free options. Boil the noodles with salt until they are just over half cooked, then strain and place in a large mixing bowl.
Final Preparation: Add the chicken soup (when the chicken is fully cooked), into the bowl with the freshly cooked noodles, enabling the noodles to finish cooking within the hot soup; absorbing some of the flavour. Try to arrange it so the soup and noodles are done at the same time, lest the noodles get cold and stick together from being out too long. Let sit for 10 minutes then serve, or place in the fridge for later.