Chicken soup not only makes people feel comforted and nourished in our hearts, but there are quite a few inherent properties to a good chicken soup that help restore health and balance in the body. It’s no wonder we crave this dish when we are sick or feeling weak. This recipe has a wonderful bright green pop to it, and can be modified several different ways depending on what kind of health benefits you want. It is also pretty fast as far as soups go, and will make you feel like your mom (or Nanny in this case, as it’s an adaptation of my dear friend’s nanny’s recipe from childhood) is there in spirit taking care of the child within you. ♥
Green Chicken Soup:
6 C water
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
3 large celery stalks, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, one finely chopped and the other whole for broth
¾ C jasmine rice
Fresh Italian parsley, about 6 full sprigs, 4 of them chopped & 2 whole for broth
Fresh cilantro, about 1 large handful of leaves chopped
Sea salt & pepper
Olive oil and 1 tbsp butter
Bring water to a boil and add chicken along with the tops of the celery stalks (the bit with leaves that you usually discard), 2-3 sprigs of parsley, 1 clove garlic, with a pinch of salt. Let boil for 20 minutes, then set chicken aside to cool, strain and reserve all broth. Shred (or “pull” the chicken) with a fork.
Pour 2 glugs of oil into a large soup pot, with the butter and 1 clove garlic, finely chopped. Heat on Medium until the garlic begins to sizzle and then add green onions and celery and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to coat in the oil mixture. Add dry rice and stir, then 4 C of the reserved broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until rice is tender and much liquid has been absorbed. Add another 1 C broth and shredded chicken. Cook for 5 minutes more, adding more broth to the soup as needed. Add chopped parsley and cilantro and cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh onions and herbs on top.
Variations for Medicinal Use:
As is: Great balanced chicken soup full of flavor and nourishment from the chicken, and support for your immune system with green onions and garlic, and mild cleansing actions of fresh herbs. Garlic and cilantro also protect from bacterial pathogens.
Colds and Flu: In addition to the green onion (called Cong Bai in Chinese - we use it as a legitimate herbal remedy for colds!), add in fresh ginger (Sheng Jiang), a pinch of cayenne pepper or red chile flakes, and some extra garlic (2-3x) to fortify your immune strength. It will really warm you up and help your body get rid of pathogens!
Post-partum & Weakness: Adding a few key Chinese herbs will turn this soup into a healing powerhouse for women. I recommend about 15g of the following: Chinese Angelica root (Dang Gui), Chinese Wolfberry Fruit (Gou Qi Zi), Codonopsis (Dang Shen), White peony root (Bai Shao), and 6 pieces of Chinese date (Da Zao). All of these can be easily found at your local Chinese herb shop, just add them in when you make the broth, then strain. You can also further the healing properties by making it with black chicken instead of white. They sell black chickens at Asian grocery stores, and are known for their higher levels of iron and anti-oxidants. This version is especially geared for women who may be anemic, suffer from fatigue or dizziness, and definitely after childbirth as it helps to circulate the blood and supplement nutrients into the body. I know what I’m eating after we have a kiddo!
Stay well ☆