Boy can Winter tap your energy reserves in trying to stay healthy. Earnestly combating the nasty flu and cold viruses by sanitizing our hands, sneezing into our sleeves, loading up on Vitamin C and eating properly. It’s a lot of work! And we wonder why we experience an avalanche of apprehension when Holiday celebrations have passed and what lies ahead are the dreary cold days of winter. We layer up, defrost, stoke, shovel, and snow blow from January to April while at the same time trying to maintain healthy immune systems. And all of this in fewer daylight hours. We are full on in winter mode and our bodies naturally require nutrient dense, hearty foods for the purpose of enduring the long months ahead. So bring on the soup!
If any of you are fortunate to have some heirloom cookbooks on your shelf, now is the time to turn a dog-eared page to the soups and stews section. In the day, full fat, nutritious bone-in meat stocks chock full of veggies were standard in most recipes. And wouldn’t you know it, statistics are now showing, healthier for us.
So let’s get to the good stuff! Let’s wander away from those lovely daydreams of soaking up the summer sun for a moment, for they need to wait. For right now soaking up some timely knowledge on the health benefits of soup is the order of the day.
My aim is not to provide an exact recipe per se, more like guidance in being creative with how you make your soup or stew in order to increase it’s health benefits to your family. I’m using chicken as the base ingredient for this soup but beef, game or other bone-in meat source is totally up to you. It’s the bones you must be concerned with as part of your preparation.
So have yourself a nice chicken dinner first, then save your meaty carcass and put it in a pot, reserving any pieces from the meal that you may later want to add for a meatier soup. Don’t forget the drippings and pieces of skin. The point is to capture every bit of goodness from the bird. Cover the carcass with water.
Here is where we can take a little time and think about what we can do to increase the soups nutrient profile. To the water add a few spoons of apple cider vinegar. The vinegar will help draw the calcium and other minerals out of the bones and make them available to you. Perfect, yes?
Here are a few herbs that may be unfamiliar to you but will boost your soup immensely. The first is Astragulus Root. Astragulus is considered an adaptogenic herb, meaning an all around body and immune building herb that can be used daily for healthy well-being. Why not toss 4 or 5 slices into the pot? Next, is a more familiar herb, Dandelion Root. Dandelion Root is a potent herb full of Vitamin C, and minerals like iron. Toss in a couple tablespoons. And now, Burdock Root which helps encourage healthy digestion and appetite. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons for good measure. Let’s punch it up even further with best loved garlic. As much as your little heart desires but no less then 4-5 well pressed or minced cloves. I need not explain garlic’s well documented health benefits. By all means lavish your soup with garlic. Now let’s cover all this goodness with a lid and bring to a boil, then simmer for a nice, slow, lengthy 6 hours or so. At this point you can strain your soup and freeze it as stock for another day or returning it to the pot with any bits of reserved meat added and start your soup.
Let your creativity guide you in what veggies you might add to suit your family. Try experimenting with new ones less familiar for a change. Seasonings and greens such as fresh parsley should always be added at the end when other veggies are tender. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Oh yeah! Serve it up with warm crusty bread and real butter. Cheers to your good health:)
For more health conscious cooking/remedies for your family check out these two blog posts:
Yours in Sharing the Good Stuff!
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