Flu-fighting Chicken Soup

Flu season is upon us. Many of my friends have already been sick and we are just at the beginning. Since people around us probably don’t want us to munch on raw garlic all day to ward off viruses, we need to eat nutrient-rich foods that have strong immune-boosting powers. Chicken soup has long been touted as one of the best foods for a cold or flu. The main reason is that it nourishes and repairs a mucous lining of our gut that is directly connected to our immune system.

The following are my favorite immune system boosters. These foods are packed full of nutrients and are warm and comforting. I have included ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon, coconut milk and shitake mushrooms. Shitake mushrooms have an active compound called lentinan. Lentinans have a ton of healing benefits and are fabulous at kick-starting the immune system and strengthening its ability to fight infection and disease. Studies have shown lentinans to be even more effective than prescription drugs in fighting cold and flu viruses. Shitakes contain selenium, iron, protein, dietary fiber and vitamin C.

First, I am going to show you how to make your own stock. You may decide to skip this step for the coconut chicken soup recipe that follows, but I highly recommend that you make your own broth. Store bought broths simply cannot stand up to the nutrients in home-made stock. For this recipe, you can use a store-bought chicken, however using leftover chicken (including bones) from an earlier chicken dinner works just as well.

Print Recipe
Step 1: Chicken Stock

  • 1 whole free-range or organic chicken (cut into pieces) or chicken bones as mentioned above
  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 1 cup shitake mushroom stems (the tops will be used for the soup below)
  • optional dried sea vegetables (such as kombu)

Place all items in a pot. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the top. Turn the heat down to simmer and cook, covered, for 6-24 hours. The longer it cooks, the healthier and tastier it is. Strain the stock and store in a large jar in the fridge. Fat may rise to the top and you can just scoop that off. It is great to take some stock and freeze it in ice cube trays and then remove the stock “ice cubes” and store them in the freezer. Then you will have nutritious stock on hand for making soups, cooking grains, etc.

Step 2: Coconut Chicken Soup

  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cups coconut milk
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup sliced shitake mushrooms
  • sea salt to taste

Bring the stock to a boil and add the coconut milk, red pepper, ginger and lemon. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
Add shitake mushrooms and sea salt to taste. Cook 5 minutes longer. Eat, enjoy and be well!

*Please note that this is a mild healing soup and not a robust "dinner party" soup.

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Divina Pe said...

Great chicken soup. I always love coconut milk. So, anything with coconut sounds good to me. It's also heavenly with ginger and lemon.

pegasuslegend said...

awesome pictures!

The Chickenless Chick said...

What an interesting stock. Looks tasty!

Anncoo said...

Nice soup and beautiful pictures.

Sanjana said...

Hey there! Please come and collect an award from my blog!

5 Star Foodie said...

Excellent soup, love the use of coconut milk here!

Anonymous said...

Souds yummy! I think I will make this with veggie stock to create a veggie version of the cold fighting soup.

Jessie said...

delicious photos, this is a soup that I would definitely have if I am feeling ill or need to warm up on a chilly day

lisaiscooking said...

This is a beautiful soup! The coconut milk, ginger, and shitakes sound fantastic in this.

Blackswan said...

Hey, this looks soooooo delicious!

Chow and Chatter said...

thanks for following on twitter what a fab blog and soup yummy Rebecca

My Man's Belly said...

I just bought 2 qts of coconut milk, so this recipe is going to come in handy for sure! Thanks for sharing.

the traditional gourmand said...

@Divina Pe: Thank you! I agree, you cant go wrong with coconut milk, ginger and lemon!

@pegasuslegend: Thanks! Camera upgrade!

@The Chickenless Chick: It is actually on the bland side, since it is more of a healing soup than a dinner party soup, but it still is pretty tasty :)

@Anncoo: Thanks so much!

@Sanjana: Yay! I am honored since I adore your blog!

@5 Star Foodie: Thanks! It makes it rich, creamy and soothing!

@Anonymous: Yes, definitely! Sorry I didn't provide a vegetarian option!

@Jessie: Thank you! And great! It is prefect for that!

@lisaiscooking: Thanks! It really appeals to all the senses!

@Blackswan: Thank you! I hope that you give it a try!

@Chow and Chatter: Thank you so much!

@My Man's Belly: Wow, that is great! It is so versatile...I am sure you will use it up in no time!

penny aka jeroxie said...

The soup looks so good and very comforting. I love the coconut touch. I don't need to be sick to have this.

Noelle said...

I had this at a noodle company and I like your recipe! I am going to make this baby! Thanks!

CaptnRachel aka Tha Pizza Cutta said...

reminds me of my fav thai soups; something I've always wanted to try at home. thanks!

Marillyn Beard said...

This looks great! We HEART coconut around here and enjoy chicken soup so much!! Feels so healing, really!

MaryMoh said...

This dish looks very delicious. I love all the flu fighting ingredients......just all the ingredients that I love. Anything with coconut is my favourite. It gives such a great flavour to any food. I usually use it when I cook chicken curry...yum. I cook chicken soup for my family very often, usually with Chinese herbs. My mom always says that it's good for health.

ncl117 said...

this looks amazing! I love making my own chicken stock when I have the time.

Ann (Healthy Tasty Chow) said...

This looks fantastic- I love coconut milk in my soup but never do it at home- maybe I'll give your recipe a try. I was watching Dr. Oz on DVR and he threw a whole garlic clove in his mouth. Yech! Love garlic but not like popcorn. - just added you to my blogroll- LOVE your posts!!!

the traditional gourmand said...

@penny aka jeroxie: Thanks! I agree...it is so comforting and everyone needs comfort!

@Noelle: Great! Let me know what you think!

@CaptnRachel aka Tha Pizza Cutta: Add some lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves and you will have a fabulous Thai soup!

@Marillyn Beard: I heart coconut too! And it is everywhere where you are...lucky!

@MaryMoh: Yum, I would love to try your curry!

@ncl117: Thanks! Me too! Sometimes I use a crockpot so I don't have to watch it the whole time :)

@Ann (Healthy Tasty Chow): Thanks so much! Yeah, when I have the flu or a cold I eat raw garlic and it is pretty rough!

high low said...

This sounds like a wonderfully comforting recipe! I love all the flavors and textures - sweet, savory, spicy, earthy - that is not usually found in typical chicken soups. Thanks for the inspiration!

Simply Life said...

I'm sure these recipes will be coming in handy soon as the cold weather begins to set! P.S. Just gave you an award on my blog! :)


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