We’re almost at the end of the year Pretty Birds and I don’t know about you, but I have barely survived three colds this season. With all the crazy bugs swarming my son’s school — that he so willingly brings back to our household — and the inconsistent weather we are experiencing, my immune system has not been able to catch a break. With winter approaching, I feel our bodies need a little restoration before we tackle 2020.
Our exhaustion is running high and as we reach the winter solstice falling back into old patterns, concentrating on energy renewal will help us get through it. The constant colds, unlimited stress and straight up end of year fatigue has me grasping for recovery in any way imaginable. Unintentionally, I find myself craving soup.
Recipes for Restorative Soups
Soups are probably one of the easiest dishes to whip up, but it is also a restorative meal that can guide us back to the road of recovery. The beauty of soup is to just throw whatever you are feeling in a pot and let it simmer. The sheer warmth of a bowl of hot soup lifts your spirit because it’s a comfort food. But it has been shown that chicken soup works as an anti-inflammatory and can reduce symptoms of respiratory tract infections.
Whether you are a bone broth fanatic or want gut-healing miso, choosing a base that has healing qualities can help boost your immunity back up. The broth itself is an instant pick-me-up because it ups your fluid intake, which is a common practice when feeling under the weather.
So if you are feeling under the weather or just want some comfort, here are my latest go-to restorative soups:
Total Time: 4 hours and 45 mins / Prep: 40 mins
1 whole chicken (4½ pounds) cut into 8 pieces with the backbone, plus 8 extra wings
2 large sprigs of thyme
4 large sprigs of parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon kosher salt, extra for seasoning
½ teaspoon of black peppercorns, extra ground black pepper for seasoning
1 cup of onion, diced
½ cup of celery stalk, cut
1 cup of carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
5 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
One 2-inch piece of ginger, sliced into matchsticks
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
3 heads baby bok choy, thinly sliced
Fill a large pot with 14 cups of water, the chicken pieces (including backbone and wings), parsley, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and peppercorns. Bring it to a boil. If it starts to foam, skim it off and reduce heat. Let it simmer for about 25 minutes. Remove the chicken, except for the wings, and discard the skin and take the meat off the bones. Cover the meat and refrigerate it, but add the bones back to the pot and simmer for 3 ½ hours more.
*This step could be made in advance and refrigerated up to 3 days.
Strain broth with a fine-mesh sieve and throw away the solid parts, including the bones and wings. Skim the fat and pour the broth into a clean pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery, ginger, mushrooms and soy sauce to the broth. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 25 minutes – vegetables should be tender. Add the bok choy for the last few minutes of cooking.
Tear the chicken you refrigerated into bite-size pieces and add to the broth. Stir in the cayenne (lemon juice could also be yummy). Season to your liking with salt and pepper.
Total Time: 30 mins / Prep Time: 10 mins
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon of peeled fresh grated ginger
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 carrots, chopped or spiralized
1 Japanese sweet potato, chopped or spiralized *
6 cups of water
5 tablespoons of white miso paste
1 cup of shelled edamame
7 oz of extra firm organic tofu, drained and cubed
4 large stalks of kale, stem removed and thinly sliced
Sea salt to taste
1 cup of bean sprouts
3 green onions, thinly sliced
*You can substitute the sweet potato with other vegetables, whatever you have lying around (zucchini or potato)
Add oil to a large pot over medium heat. Mix the onions into the oil and saute for about 5 minutes until soft. Then add the ginger and garlic to flavor the oil. Next, mix in the celery, carrots and sweet potatoes and saute for two minutes. Add the water then bring it to a simmer. The vegetables should start to soften.
In a separate bowl whisk the miso paste with about a cup of the water from the simmering pot, that way the paste will mix evenly. Then pour the miso paste into the pot. Add edamame, tofu, and kale for about a minute. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the salt for taste and the bean sprouts and green onions.
Images by Alex Clark