I remembered to get a flu shot this year, then learned that I still have a 50% chance of getting it because the vaccine doesn't cover all the flu variations. Flu is my enemy. The side effects always lay me low for quite some time, so I live in fear that I might come down with it. And when other people are waylaid, I truly feel sorry for them. I just learned that Shelley and her husband are both dealing with flu (and house renovations, as well), so I decided to make a pot of Flu Chaser Soup in her honor. Of course, I can't actually give the soup to her, but I thought of her as I ate it--and hope she gets well soon.
This marvelous soup is full of spices and herbs, but I picked ginger root as my herb of choice. The soup was created by Marjorie Drucker, to combat the horrors of flu and colds, using garlic, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, basil, mint, and bay leaves. The original recipe doesn't contain ginger root, but I always feel better when I eat soup with ginger root, so I added it. It helps calm the stomach and gives my mood a boost. I added a large amount, because it seems to me that there's a ginger root crisis in this country. It's losing it's potency and tastes almost bland to me. Why this would be, I can't say. I should stop complaining and grow it myself. Because this soup is full of lovely herbs, I submit it to Weekend Herb Blogging, which was created by the fabulous Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen, but is being hosted this week by Zorra at Kochtopf. Stop by her site this weekend and see her recap of the other herby recipes from bloggers around the world.
This recipe uses roasted garlic, so I made sure to make plenty, so I'd have some left over. There are so many things to do with roasted garlic. Dab it behind your ears, wax your car, or eat it, of course.
Chopped carrots, celery and onion, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, mint. And lemons. Lots of lemons.
You need a large stock pot to hold all the veggies, stock, and whole chicken. This is the first serious pot I bought for myself. It was long ago, when we didn't have a lot of income, and most of my friends thought I was pretty silly to buy it. Well, who's silly now? You have to pay a lot more now to buy this beauty. It will outlast me, no doubt.
Falling off the bone tender chicken, chopped basil, and mint.
If you know someone who is sick, please make them this soup. But, it's so delicious, you don't need to be sick to enjoy it. But freeze some, just in case.....
Spicy Chicken Rice Flu Chaser Soup
(New England Soup Factory Cookbook)
3-4 heads of garlic, roasted (About 1/2 cup of cloves squeezed out of the heads of garlic.)
1 whole chicken, about 5 pounds
1 large Spanish onion, peeled and diced
6 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 ribs celery, diced
12 cups chicken stock, plus additional if needed (I used 13 cups)
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves, or 2 teaspoons dried mint
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger root (Or less if you have good ginger root.)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Don't worry, it doesn't make the soup hot, just lifts the flavor)
2 bay leaves
1/4 heaping cup of chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
3 cups cooked white or jasmine rice
Kosher salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut about 1/4 or 1/2 off the top of each head of garlic. Put cut sides up in a dish, drizzle with oil and cover with a lid or foil. Bake about 50 minutes, until garlic is soft, brown, and caramelized. Let cool then squeeze the cloves out of the heads until you have about 1/2 cup of garlic. Mash the cloves and set aside. Reserve some whole cloves to garnish the soup if you wish.
In a stock pot place the chicken, onion, carrots, and celery. Pour the chicken stock over the chicken and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add roasted garlic cloves, lemon juice, ginger root, lemon zest, mint, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves.
Reduce heat to medium and simmer 2 1/2 hours or until chicken is very tender. (My chicken was tender after about 2 hours.)
Remove chicken carefully and place on a plate to cool.
Remove soup from heat. If it looks too thick, add 1 to 2 cups stock or water. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones and add the meat back to the soup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Taste, adding more lemon juice or other spices, if you like. Add basil, mint, rice, and salt. Remove bay leaves. Stir and serve. Note: To prevent rice from getting too mushy, I add my rice to each serving bowl and ladle the soup over it.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
* The original recipe calls for 20 peeled whole cloves garlic, combined with 1 1/2 cups olive oil and baked on a dish, covered with foil, at 375 degrees for 50 minutes. Drain off the oil when done and mash cloves with a fork