This immune-boosting soup is everything on a cold autumn or winter day.
Chicken soup is the antidote to many things. Maybe you’re sick, or just homesick, physically cold, melancholy, or maybe you just want to use the rest of that rotisserie chicken you have on hand. I find that, whatever the reason is, chicken soup fulfills a purpose.
I craved, and thus created, a good chicken soup recipe on one of the first days of fall here in the Pacific Northwest. I could feel the air quality shift overnight and literally knew the exact moment when fall arrived. Can anyone else feel this precise moment in the shifting of seasons? I wanted to make a heart-warming (and belly-warming!) soup that would be grounding while also providing my family with nourishing immune-boosting properties. Because, as we all know, with the changing of weather, and a turn towards cooler days, comes cold and flu season.
Chicken soup has actually been studied and shown to relieve symptoms of the common cold, specifically reduce mucus and upper respiratory symptoms. The belief is that the broth of a traditional chicken soup, made with chicken bones (a.k.a. bone broth!), delivers powerful nutrients to ward off illness and increase immunity. Also, the nutrient-dense vegetables often included such as onions and garlic are known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Well, I’ve one-upped the classic chicken soup by adding turmeric, a well-known medicinal ingredient, too!
The active medicinal component of turmeric is a polyphenol called curcumin.
Turmeric is a root or rhizome, like ginger, that’s native to Southeast Asia and India. It’s been used in culinary and medicinal practices for several thousand years. It’s consumed both fresh and dried and ground into a powder. The flavor is mildly reminiscent of ginger with pepper and lemon notes.
The active medicinal component of turmeric is a polyphenol called curcumin. Curcumin has been widely studied for its anti-inflammatory properties, especially for its role in the treatment of arthritis, as well as an aid in detoxification, decreased cancer risk, blood sugar balance, kidney function, cognitive function, immunity, and digestive health. And, one of the most impressive things about turmeric is you don’t need very much to reap the benefits! Research shows that 1 teaspoon per day, and often much less, can be effective.
LEMON TURMERIC CHICKEN SOUP WITH FRESH DILL
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1/4 head cabbage (~1 1/2 cups), chopped
- 4 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/5 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 8 cups chicken bone broth or chicken stock
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 red chard leaves, destemmed and sliced into ribbons
- 4 red chard stalks, chopped small
- 2 tbsp chopped dill
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, flatten chicken breasts until uniform in size–this will ensure that they cook evenly. Place in a bowl and add the garlic salt and onion powder and evenly coat the chicken. Place on baking sheet and bake for ~15-20 minutes or until it’s just barely cooked through (the chicken will continue to cook in the soup once it’s added). Remove from oven and shred chicken with a fork and set aside.
In a dutch oven or large stock pot, heat olive oil and add the onions and salt and cook until tender and translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, and cabbage and sauté with the onion until tender, 3-4 minutes. Finally, add the garlic and turmeric and sauté for an additional 30-60 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.
Pour in the bone broth or stock, lemon juice, bay leaves, and shredded chicken and bring the soup to a gentle boil on high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Portion out each serving and top with chard ribbons and stalks and fresh dill. Bon appetit!