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Old wives tale or not, there is something magical about chicken soup.
Clear broths for poorly tums, spicy chicken noodle soup for a stuffy nose and there is nothing like a lovely bowl of hot, creamy soup to cheer you up when you are feeling below par.
You can of course get it in a can, but if you want something super-nourishing that will warm you up and make you feel better and brighter, we have the perfect recipe for you.
For our winning bug buster you will need:
5 chicken thighs (ideally organic)
1 small butternut squash, deseeded
1 small pack of Shiitake mushrooms, washed
4 cloves of garlic
1 red onion
2 green chillies
1 piece of fresh ginger (a 5cm square should work)
1 litre of fresh chicken stock
To make a perfect pan soup, you will need to:
Chop the chillies, garlic, onion and sauté them together until the onion softens and goes slightly brown.
Next, chop the butternut squash into manageable cubes, slice the mushrooms and add to the pan together with the chicken. Stir all of this together and then add enough stock to cover the ingredients.
Turn down the heat and simmer the mix until the squash is soft and the chicken is cooked.
This is the bit many people don’t do, and makes all the difference. Carefully remove the chicken from the soup and put on plate, put the other ingredients in a blender and mix until you have a smooth soup base.
Loosen the chicken from the bones, shred and then put back into the now smooth soup and serve.
Individually these ingredients are powerful, together they are potent, and this is why.
Let’s start with the chicken. We all know chicken is a source of protein which is vital for your immune systems but it also packed with zinc, which is believed to reduce the severity and length of colds.
The chicken stock is added because that extra bit of liquid will not only help hydrate you but also clear blocked noses.
Green chillies are a brilliant natural decongestant that stimulates nasal membranes and helps clear nasty mucus.
Garlic contains the compound allicin, which is full of antibacterial and antiviral properties, which help mop up cold viruses and get rid of them a little bit faster.
We suggest using red, rather than white onions, because they contain antibacterial properties and offer and added blast of goodness.
Butternut squash isn’t always used in soup but we like it because it is full of betacarotene, which an anti-inflammatory that will also helping clear up a stuff nose. Bet you didn’t know that?
Ginger is an all round natural bug busting wonder product. It fires up you circulation so those white blood cells can deal with any infection fast, it warms up if you are feeling cold and because it has anti-inflammatory properties it can clear bunged up noses and heavy heads.
We love this soup served piping hot with a slice of garlic bread and large glass of water with lemon, but there are other ways to enjoy it.
If bread isn’t for you, but you need a little more energy, why not add a handful of brown rice or quinoa.
If you have been on antibiotics, adding a spoonful of live yoghurt will give you a much-needed serving of gut-friendly bacteria.
If you are a vegetarian, don’t despair. Swapping the chicken thighs for a handful of almonds will give you a healthy serving of essential amino acids that are brilliant immune system boosters.
What’s your favourite soup, we would love to know.