I, along with what seems like many others this season have come into contact with a super mutating bug. What felt like stomach cramps and the flu over the holidays, grew into sinus congestion and headaches. With the runny nose hanging around after the other symptoms disappeared (uninvited I should say) I thought I was on the mend. Then this week I woke up with a sore throat, body aches and a headache. I haven't seen the last of this mutant.
The thing with being sick is, you get to take a time out, or at least you should.
Life doesn't necessarily get put on hold so you can curl up into a ball, grab a big mug of tea and with watery eyes and a sniffly nose, watch that movie on Netflix you have been skipping past because you don't always have the time. But, c'mon it really should..
If you can change your schedule, find a sitter, and take the time, being sick can be a wonderful treat. Think of it as alone time, a chance to hibernate, turn the phone off and take care of yourself. If you are too sick to make yourself some soup, send this recipe to your partner, friend, parent or kids, smile the best sickly smile you got, and ask nicely for a bowl of chicken noodle soup for the soul.
This recipe provides some of the comfort that traditional bone broths can provide because we are using chicken thighs with the bone in. There is so much nourishment in the bones of the meat, and allowing all of the ingredients time to simmer away creates a much richer soup.
I like adding the lemon for a twist on the traditional chicken soup recipe, but also using the fresh squeezed lemon juice at the end provides a bit more vitamin C to a slightly compromised immune system. This recipe is easy, makes your house smell amazing, and leaves enough left over so you can freeze a batch or share with your sniffly friend.
1 large yellow onion, diced
5 celery stalks, diced
4 carrots chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
5-8 chicken thighs (depending on the size), skinless, bone in
2-3 tbsp fresh chopped thyme
2 bay leaves
Bundle of parsley
Grated zest of half a lemon
1 serrano pepper or hot pepper (can omit if you don't want the kick)
8 cups chicken broth- homemade or purchased
3-4 tsp olive oil
1/2 pound noodles ( egg noodles, linguini noodles, spiral noodles, whatever you like)
1-2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
Plenty of cracked black pepper
Put the chicken thighs into a bowl and sprinkle the lemon pepper and garlic powder over them, massage the spices into the chicken. Set aside.
Dice up the onion, carrots & celery, add to a big soup pot with some olive oil and sauté on medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt, add the chopped garlic and hot pepper and stir well, lowering the heat.
In a separate large pan add olive oil, turn to medium heat and once hot add the chicken thighs. Searing both sides of the meat till brown.
Add half the chicken broth to the soup pot, along with the bay leaves, the fresh thyme, and the lemon zest.
Add the chicken thighs and any juicy tidbits left in the bottom of the frying pan. Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken thighs from the soup, and on a cutting board using 2 forks shred the chicken from the bone, getting as much of the meat off as you can and pulling into small pieces.
Add the chicken back to the soup pot, along with the remaining chicken broth.
Bring a large pot of water to boil, add the pasta to cook. Don't cook the pasta completely as it will have more time to soften in the soup pot. Soften until almost al dente. Drain, and add pasta to soup pot.
(Alternatively if you want to avoid mushy pasta leftovers in the soup, keep the noodles separate and add to each batch that you warm up on its own)
Now is the time to add the fresh squeezed lemon juice, the chopped fresh parsley, the extra salt if needed and lots of cracked black pepper. I even added some chopped raw garlic to my bowl of soup right at the end for that extra immunity kick. Completely optional.
Sit down, eat mindfully, and allow this soup to clear that runny nose and congestion right out.
Kleenex are handy.