Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cooking for a Cold - Chicken Soup & Ginger Tea

Cooking for a Cold - Chicken Soup & Ginger Tea... It's fall yall! And that means pumpkins, gourds, hearty stews, sweaters, boots, and COLDS! Yep, that change in weather is kicking in and with it comes a slightly compromised immune system, and then a cold. We happen to be feeling just a tiny under the weather over here, so I'm spending Sunday whipping up a few cold friendly foods. I've posted about my favorite chicken soup before, but this week's version kicks up the flavor a little with additional veggies and fresh herbs. Along with the soup, I'm posting a very simple way to make a killer ginger tea which is sure to sooth your throat.

Chicken Soup:
The basics are the same - onion, carrot, celery, chicken stock, diced canned tomatoes, herbs. But I've got a couple of additions to my mom's classic that I generaly throw in, which include white beans, garlic, and dark leafy greens (usually spinach). See my normal list of ingredients in this post.

Today I added a few more...

  • Kale (Instead of spinach, we all know Kale is the mother of nutrient rich dark leafy greens and with a cold brewing I can use all the vitamins and nutrients I can find)
  • Fresh chopped Thyme (happened to have some from last week)
  • Fresh chopped Oregano (normally I add a few small palm fulls of dried oregano but this week I opted for the fresh stuff)
  • Fresh Chopped shallot (I NEVER use shallot - and I have no idea why, I love garlic and I love onions and a shallot is basically a hybrid of the two. Since a cold often dampens my taste buds I figured having the trifecta of these three lovely aromatics would help me to actually TASTE the soup)
First I sauteed 2 garlic cloves (which I chopped with a garlic press), 2 chopped small yellow onions, and 1 finely chopped shallot in oil. I then added three large carrots, thinly sliced and a fully bunch of celery (probably 8 stalks including their leaves) roughly chopped. I then added a finely minced large palm full of the fresh oregano and thyme together and gave the whole thing a nice mix. I added some salt and pepper as well.

Next I chopped a large bunch of kale, after removing the hard stalks - the leaves are really the good stuff. You could also buy it pre-cut if you prefer. I let that cook into the veggies until it was slightly wilted, then added my rinsed and drained white beans and a can of diced tomatoes. Next went the chicken stock and bay leaves. A little more salt and pepper and a tiny bit of dried basil completed the process. I brought it all to a boil and then let it sit on a very light simmer for a few hours.

Saute all the veggies and herbs letting the kale steam through

Add the canned tomatoes and white beans

Simmer in stock!

The Tea:
While at the store I grabbed a few lemons, a bottle of local honey, and a ginger root. This tea was so easy and so yummy.

I added a few cups of water to a small pot and brought it to a boil. While the water was heating I cut the knob of ginger in half, and used a peeler to remove the skin (you could leave it on). Then I simply grated the knob on a cheese grater until I had a couple of table spoons worth. Once the water was boiling I added in the ginger and turned the heat to low. I let it steep for about 5 minutes. While it was steeping I added a generous squeeze of honey (think tablespoon) and juice from half of a lemon into a tea mug. Once the ginger water was done I added it to the mugs with the lemon/honey mix in the bottom. I don't have a really fine strainer to keep the ginger out of the mug, so I just used the lid of the pot to restrict the ginger pieces while only pouring the water into the mug.

It was warm and sweet and a little spicy from the ginger. It was super Dahlicious and I would highly recommend it!

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