Saturday, December 22, 2007

Chicken Broth for the Flu

Never one to state the obvious (uh-huh), I'm going to go out on a limb here and say ...

It's definitely flu season.

Nasty, achey, stuffy head, sore throat, coughing, itching, sneezing, god-would-it-please-go-away! flu season. And it seems there are several types waiting to bring even the strongest person to his/her knees. You barely get over one and another one attacks while your defenses are down. Does this sound familiar, Buckaroo?

Soup is what I crave when the flu strikes. Hot, steamy, easy to fix, immune system-boosting soup. Mr. CC made a delicious one for me while I was down, full of garlic and fresh vegetables. It pulled me through the worst days. Today I made a simpler version and decreed it blogworthy - its health factor notwithstanding. I'm not saying this will cure you instantly but, with these ingredients, I'll bet it will get you on the road to recovery a bit more quickly.

Chicken Broth for the Flu
Christine's original recipe
2 cups chicken broth or stock (see Cook's Notes)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced paper thin (more is even better!)
juice of 1 Meyer lemon
1 large fresh egg
1 teaspoon or so fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine

Heat the chicken broth in a saucepan over medium high heat.
Add the garlic slices and allow to simmer for several minutes until the garlic is softened. You don't want the broth to boil at any time during this preparation so keep your heat adjusted accordingly.
Stir in the lemon juice and bring the liquid back up to a simmer.
Break the egg into a small bowl.
Stir the broth with a spoon until you get that vortex thingy going on in the center then gently drop the egg into that center. Keep stirring gently around the edge of the saucepan to keep the egg moving. Allow it to poach for a few minutes until it is gently cooked. Unfortunately mine broke, which doesn't alter the taste, just the presentation. And actually, you could break the egg up before adding it to the soup and just let it cook for a bit. Leaving all that vortex nonsense for another time.
Ladle the finished soup into a bowl and sprinkle with the parsley. Let the lemony-garlicky steam clear your sinuses as the hot broth soothes your throat. There, isn't that better?

Cook's Notes:
The chicken broth can be your own homemade stock or some good store-bought stuff. I have homemade stock in my freezer most of the time, but when you're sick, who wants to wait for frozen stock to thaw? In this recipe I used an organic, no fat, low sodium boxed broth and added a teaspoon of Organic Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base which made the broth taste richer.

If you don't have a Meyer lemon, I would use the juice from just one half of a regular lemon, otherwise you may end up with mouth-puckering broth.

Standing around peeling garlic when one is not feeling well can wear a bit thin, but if you can stand to do so, the more garlic in this broth the better.

That deep green, packed-with-vitamins parsley you see in the photo above is from a very happy plant that's growing in my greenhouse. Oh happy cook.

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