I’m sniffly, my daughter is too, everyone around us is also sick with the winter flus in Sydney that just seem to be relentless. I’ve spent a fortune on tissues, nasal sprays, panadol and other flu paraphernalia and quite honestly am a bit over it all. It’s time for action and some good old fashioned no-nonsense home cooked, flu-cancelling remedies. Now.
Chicken soup is the first cab off the rank. Now, there are chicken soups and there are chicken soups, and like a Spaghetti Bolognese, everyone has their own family recipe, handed down over generations, put into wills with a master stock, or just plain googled with thousands of results. Mine is a combination of all of these things, I have been studying chicken soup and trying many different versions for some time now. There is no limit to what you can put into it, let your imagination run wild with ingredients, however I can only say this. The end result will weigh up mostly upon the quality of the chicken used in the stock and there is no doubt in my mind and many others, that this begins with an Organic Chicken. Oh it’s too expensive I hear you say, but there is no compromise here, it can only be organic so spend the extra dollars, make the great stock, taste the difference, and feel better and be over your flu. You’ll thank yourself as will your family.
After serving up the chicken soup, make a desert of poached mandarins in red wine, sugar and cloves. Serve this with a boiled Ginger Tea, Lime Juice and Honey. The Vitamin C hit in this combination of foods is immense and should single handedly eliminate your flu.
Chicken Soup Ingredients for initial stock base:
1 Whole Organic Chicken
Water to cover the chicken
1 Brown Onion, quartered
1 Carrot, peeled and chopped in fours
1 Parsnip, peeled and chopped in fours
1 Stick of Celery, chopped in fours
2 Cloves of garlic, halved
1 Tbs Black Peppercorns
3 Bay Leaves
1) Bring all of these ingredients to the boil, then let simmer very gently on low heat with a lid on for two hours. Don’t worry about skimming off the fat and froth, as you will do this when you are straining the stock.
2) Remove the chicken and place in a separate bowl and let cool so you can handle.
3) Strain the stock, and discard all of the cooked vegetables.
4) When the chicken can be handled, remove all meat from bones and place back into the strained stock
The fiddliest part of this recipe is now done. Here is where you can get inventive and have fun.
Rest of the Soup Ingredients:
1 Leek, sliced
1 Stick Celery, chopped
1 Carrot, diced
Half a Fennel Bulb, thinly sliced
1 Parsnip, diced
Coriander Stalks, chopped
Toasted Sesame Seeds
1) Bring everything to the boil again, just briefly, then back to a simmer. The soup is ready at this point, but if you aren’t ready to eat, just turn the heat off and keep covered till you are. The longer it sits, the better so all flavours infuse nicely.
2) When you are ready to eat, here is the clincher. Serve up in bowls, then add bean sprouts, coriander leaves, toasted sesame seeds, black pepper, squeeze of a lemon and just a tiny, tiny splash of soy sauce. As no extra salt or other dreaded stock cubes have been added up till this point, a dash of soy sauce is allowed.
Next the Mandarins for Desert:
2 Big Juicy Mandarins, peeled and segmented (You can de-pip them if you like, or just not bother)
2 Tsp butter
1/4 cup red wine
2 Tbsp caster sugar
2 Star Anise
Juice of one orange
1 Tsp Cinnamon
Splash of water
Dash of sweet Sherry
1) Marinate the mandarins in all ingredients for half an hour except butter
2) Bring to boil then simmer for 15 minutes till fragrant and mandarins are turning slightly mushy
3) Turn heat off and let cool
4) Serve on top of vanilla bean ice-cream with a dollop of Greek Yogurt on top and dusting of cinnamon.
1 Knob of Ginger, sliced thinly with skin on
Juice of 1 Lime
1) Boil ginger in 4 cups of water for twenty minutes.
2) Strain into mugs
3) Add 1 tsp honey to each mug, stir
4) Squeeze Lime Juice into each mug, stir
So there you have it. A Flu-Elimination meal, chocked full of Vitamin C. Have an open fire going whilst preparing and devouring all of this to combat the Sydney Winter Flu Blues.