Chicken soup is often a staple when you’re fighting a cold or flu but did you know that homemade chicken soup actually has health benefits too?
Cuddling up with a bowl of hot chicken soup is the best cure for colds in the winter months, according to researchers. A study found that chicken soup could ease the symptoms of upper respiratory infections because it contains anti-inflammatory agents. Further research shows that the aroma, spices and heat from the soup can clear congestion brought on by the common cold. A researcher from the University of Nebraska put his ‘grandma’s soup’ recipe to the test to find out if the myth is true. Whether this is actually true or not I personally find it so comforting when I feel a cold or virus coming on. With fresh ginger and homemade chicken stock it’s hard to beat, it’s certainly a staple in my house throughout winter.
This soup can easily be made from the leftovers of a roast chicken, just strip the carcass of any meat then simmer the bones with vegetable trimmings and you’re half way there! If you’re making the soup from scratch I always recommend using chicken thighs, firstly they are tastier than the breast, they don’t dry out and they’re cheaper.
Thai Spiced Chicken Soup
Yield 4 portions
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 4cm piece ginger, peeled, cut into very thin matchsticks
- 500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1.4 Litres homemade chicken stock
- 3 Shallots, halved or a medium onion cut into quarters
- 1 Lemon grass, bruised with the heal of a large knife
- 3 Garlic cloves
- 160g Brown basmati rice, rinsed
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon (or more) fish sauce
- 3 Green and red chillis, thinly sliced
- 4 Spring onions, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons Unsalted peanuts, roasted and crushed
- Combine the honey and 50ml of freshly boiled water in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve the honey. Add the ginger and leave in the solution until cool; drain and set aside.
- Bring chicken, stock, shallots or onion, lemon grass and garlic to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Transfer the chicken and garlic to a cutting board and let it cool; discard shallots or onion and lemon grass. Squash the garlic to a paste using the side of a large knife; return to the saucepan and stir to combine. Shred the chicken; set aside.
- Bring the soup to the boil and add the rice. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and the grains have burst (it should thickened a little from the starch in the rice) This will take approximately 30-35 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, and the reserved shredded chicken; taste and adjust seasonings with more fish sauce and lime juice if necessary.
- Divide the soup into bowls; top with reserved ginger, chillis, spring onions and peanuts.