Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What Do You Eat When You're Feeling Poorly

All last week I was feeling crummy. I know… you’ve heard enough about my cold and I won’t bore you with the details. Isn’t it interesting though that when one gets the flu or a cold, the mere fact that you can’t smell or taste has even the most food focused person (that would be me) unable to think of making more than toast.

Fortunately, this cold hit just after the Jewish Holidays and leftover chicken soup and chicken salad sustained me for the first few days. By mid week, I started to wish my mummy were still around to look after me and feed me….not an option and all the chicken soup was gone and no spare containers of it in the freezer. I whipped up scrambled eggs and baked beans, just like my mom used to do when I was little, but I needed more. After all, how much tea with honey and toast can a person eat? So I made some of my “Green Chicken” soup, in part because it’s easy and I did have chicken in the freezer and the veggies on hand, and also because it’s more comfort food.

Years ago I concocted this soup because when my daughters were little they hated vegetables. So I got this brilliant idea to camouflage them. They liked chicken soup and they liked pea soup so I decided to combine the two and add spinach. But they were not so easy to fool and I was desperate. I pureed all the vegetables and made them vanish. The spinach turned it a wonderful shade of green and all of a sudden they loved the soup and called it “Green Soup”. They would actually ask for it by name and it’s been a favorite ever since. It’s the next best thing to a hug.

So here's my comfort food recipe. What's yours for when you're feeling under the weather?

Green Chicken Soup
From Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories

Total Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2-2 ½ hours
Serves 10-12

1 chicken quartered, skinned and cleaned of fat
1 onion, whole
2 stalks of celery with leaves.
2 carrots, peeled, cut in ½
1 parsnip, peeled, cut in ½
1 small turnip, peeled & quartered
1 package spinach, cooked and chopped
2 packages split pea soup mix or 450 g/2 cups green split peas
2-3 sprigs fresh dill
1 tsp chicken stock (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Place chicken, onion, carrot, parsnip, turnip and 1 sprig of dill in a large pot of water (approximately 4 quarts). Leave room for the split peas and spinach (2 inches) so it won’t splatter all over the stove.

2. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Soup should simmer after the first boil so that it will remain clear. Skim soup of any fat. This usually takes 20-30 minutes until soup is clear.

3. Remove chicken from the pot when fully cooked (40 minutes- 1 hour from the first boil). Remove meat from bones and set aside. Discard bones.

4. Puree the carrots, parsnip and turnips and return to the pot. Discard the celery, dill and onion. Add the split peas and fresh dill to the pot. Cover and continue to cook 1½ hours over low heat. Add chicken and cooked spinach a few minutes before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cool completely before refrigerating. Soup tastes even better the next day.
Tips & Variations
Any fat left will turn hard and golden when refrigerated, and will be easy to remove from the soup before heating.

Remove chicken after 45 minutes or when no longer pink near the bone, Debone and cut into 2” pieces and set aside to return to pot just before ready to eat or save for chicken salad or pot pie. Removing the chicken keeps it tender and not rubbery. There is nothing quite as unappealing as over-done chicken

Instead of pureeing, you could cut carrots, turnip and parsnip into 1” cubes if you like a chunky soup.

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Little Mama said...

I am all about saltines and 7-up when I feel icky. But I may have to try that green soup next time. It looks really good. I hope you are feeling better. Thanks for stopping by my site as well.

Kalyn Denny said...

Sorry to hear you're not feeling well. The soup does sound wonderful. I love split pea, so I think I would like this too.

Ruth Daniels said...

Punky, when my tummy's upset, crackers and gingerale are my "cure", but when suffering from the sniffles - I crave soup, preferably homemade by someone else.

Kalyn, I'm much better thanks, and my father would call this "stick to the ribs" soup that always works wonders.

Thanks ladies, for dropping by.

kickpleat said...

This soup sounds fantastic! It's cool outside and rainy, so belly warming soup fits the bill perfectly. I think I'll have to make this soon.