Sicknesses are flowing this year and I have been determined not to get sick. So far so good – sort of – but we’ll come back to that in a minute.
A couple of weeks ago my friend Sarah posted this amazing sounding Thai Chicken Soup. As soon as I saw it, I thought about how many of the ingredients were known flu fighters and how powerful a stock would be if I just infused them into it.
In the spirit of avoiding sickness and keeping my family healthy, I whipped up a batch and planned to make a soup from it (will be posting that recipe Wednesday!) and freeze the rest in case any of us got sick.
Now, I must tell you that my go-to sick soup is my Mom’s Chicken Soup, which is A-Mazing and a variation on a classic Jewish Mom Chicken Soup. I very rarely, if ever, veer from that when it comes to fighting a cold or flu but since I love Asian flavors so much and these ingredients have legit healing properties, I decided it’s time to mix it up.
I am glad I did!
This stock makes a wonderful base for almost any soup – Asian-inspired or not. It is clean and light and has a nice complexity. There is a very slight floral, sweet undertone from the lemongrass and skins of the garlic and shallot.
So the irony is that not even two days after I made this and froze most of it, I start feeling sick. Right? Well, of course I busted it all out and started defrosting in addition to taking the supplements recommended by my Naturopath (gotta love living in WA for this!). Lo and behold, I was a bit under the weather for about 24 hours but felt almost 100% by the next day.
Was it the soup? The supplements? Luck? Who knows but if you think you are getting sick, it certainly can’t hurt to whip up a batch of this Flu Fighting Stock ASAP!
A simple way to serve this stock is with a couple slices of fresh ginger, whatever quick cooking greens you have in the fridge and a small handful of the cooked and reserved chicken breast.
If you are up for something more complex, I suggest using the stock as a base for any of these soups. Plus, I will be posting a Thai Inspired Chicken Soup on Wednesday so stay tuned for that…
- Buy a whole chicken (it’s always cheaper) and ask the Butcher to cut it up for you. You want 9 pieces (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 wings and the back). Ask them if they have any extra backs to sell you and if so, buy 1 or 2 more for the stock. Get the best quality chicken you can.
- Lemongrass usually comes in two forms – whole stalks that are sold loose and mostly in Asian grocery stores or in those little plastic herb packages already cut into approximately 4″ stalks. Either way is totally fine. You just want to use about 8 to 10″ of lemongrass so one large stalk cut down or 2 to 3 of those pre-cut stalks.
- See Recipe for De-Fatting Procedure.
Inspired By: Thai Chicken Soup by Sarah Ashley
- One 3½ to 5 lb organic chicken (with bones and skin), cut into 9 pieces (see NOTES)
- 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- water to cover plus about 1"
- 8 to 10" lemongrass, sliced in half
- 3 to 4 shallots, cut in half lengthwise (skin on)
- 1 head garlic, cut in half across the middle (skin on)
- 3 to 4" ginger root, peeled and sliced lengthwise
- 1 bunch scallions, white and darks separated, whites cut lengthwise (greens reserved for soup)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons Kosher Salt
- Begin by placing the cut up chicken parts in a large stock pot with no more than 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Cover with water by about an inch - usually about a gallon plus 2 to 3 cups) and let sit for at least 30 minutes while you prep everything else. The point of this is for the apple cider vinegar to extract minerals and calcium from the bones to make your stock even more of a nutritional powerhouse. Read here for more on that!
- Meanwhile, grab lemongrass, shalltos, garlic, ginger and scallions.
- Start by separating the scallion greens from the whites. Reserve the greens for a soup or stir fry and slice the whites lengthwise in half.
- Grab the shallots and without peeling, trim the ends and slice down the middle lengthwise.
- Peel ginger root (I like to use a teaspoon. You just pull it along the peel and it pretty much slides right off.) and slice into long pieces, exposing the inner flesh.
- Cut lemongrass into 4" stalks if not already done and cut the stalks in half lengthwise.
- Finally, slice the entire head of garlic, leaving skin on, across the middle.
- Toss all of the cut aromatics into the pot and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of kosher salt. I suggest starting with 2 and tasting later to add more. Bring to a boil and skim foam off the top for 5 to 10 minutes or until it's all gone.
- Once foam subsides, lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook, covered, for a total of 3 hours.
- At the beginning of simmering, set a timer for 45 minutes to pull out the 2 breasts and 2 thighs. We want to poach those in the broth and don't want them to get overcooked. Let them cool a bit, pull off the meat and return the bones to the pot. Chop breast and thigh meat up into bite sized pieces and store in a container in the fridge or freezer for future soups (or other dishes).
- When cooking is done, taste and adjust salt if necessary. Allow to cool and pull out chicken parts. Set aside to cool so you can pick the meat off remaining bones to use for the soup or tacos or chicken salad (whatever you want - it will be a bit dry though).
- Once stock is a bit cooler, strain into another pot, discard aromatics and refrigerate to allow fat to settle to the top.
- The next day, pull the pot out of the fridge. You will see a layer of fat settled on the top of the soup.
- Grab a small bowl or cup and a large spoon. Gently ladle off the fat and discard (some people like to save this to cook with).
- Your stock is ready to be used or frozen for future use. Enjoy and stay healthy!