Wholesome Italian Chicken Soup is a favourite in our home. The smell is divine, as it wafts throughout the house, slowly cooking all day. The quality of the ingredients really affects the flavour of the soup so buy the best quality chicken you can afford. If your chicken soup does not ‘gel’ when left in the fridge, you know your chickens are not up to scratch. We are blessed to call the Sommerlads, of Sommerlads Poultry, our very dear friends, which means we get to use their chickens quite a bit. They have spent 10 years developing a heritage breed that tastes just like chicken use to. It is so good!
Wholesome Italian Chicken Soup is so easy to prepare in the morning while everyone is eating breakfast. Put the chook in the slow cooker, cover with water and add the veggies. At dinner time, there will be about 15 minutes of work and you will be rewarded with a delicious soup, bursting with flavour and packed with nutrition. Collagen and gelatin are both supplements that you can buy to add to your diet, but the cheapest way to get the goodness is really just to whip up some healthful soup.
We all laugh at Grandma’s suggestion of having some chicken broth for just about every ailment, but she really was on to something. Chicken soup has been eaten throughout the world for its curative properties for centuries. Science is only now beginning to understand how important our food choices are to our health or lack thereof.
So eat more chicken soup. It not only mitigates the symptoms of the common cold, it also boasts some amazing health benefits from the collagen found within. A bone broth or soup that gels is rich in collagen. If you place the leftovers of Wholesome Italian Chicken Soup in the fridge, you will find a thick jelly substance on top in the morning. If your kids see this they will most likely be grossed out, but all that is, is evidence of the goodness of the gelatin contained in the soup. You can add more collagen to your soup by adding the parts of the chicken that are often considered as waste – the carcass, legs and chicken feet. Go on, I dare you 🙂
A healthy chicken soup also contains a natural amino acid called cysteine, which can thin the mucus in your lungs and make it less sticky so you can expel it more easily, hence why everyone says to have chicken soup when you have a cold. If you are game, add lots of hot spices which can help trigger a sudden release of watery fluids in your mouth, throat, and lungs, thinning down the respiratory mucus making it easier to expel.
The benefits still don’t end there. Sally Fallon, in Nourishing Traditions says,
“Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.”
I could go on forever about the benefits of both collagen and gelatin, but really, you probably are convinced by now.
I hope you enjoy this soup as much as the Campbell’s do.
- 1.5 kg chicken
- 2-4 chicken feet (optional)
- 2 large
- 1 medium
- 1 stalk
- 1 large
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 4 cloves
- 6 black peppercorns
- 8 cups chicken broth or water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste - we like to add 1-2 tsp of pink salt
- Place chicken, tomato, onion, celery, carrot, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns and the water in a slow-cooker. Cook, covered, on low for 8 hours.
- Carefully remove chicken from cooker. Strain the broth through a fine sieve into
largeheatproof bowl. Discard solids.
- Return broth to slow cooker.
- When cool enough to handle, remove bones from chicken and shred the meat coarsely. Discard bones.
- Add chicken, herbs and juice to the soup; cook, covered, on high for 5 minutes.
- Season to taste.
- Sprinkle with some coarsely grated parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast flakes.