Chicken Soup for the Immune System

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I may be enjoying the beauty of Kauai with my husband right now (hooray for vacations!), but that didn't stop me from coming down with a nasty cold earlier this fallWhen I return home from lapping up all this Vitamin D and relaxation, you can bet I'm going to be focusing on my immune system, starting with my diet.

Chicken soup is a long-time favorite for sick folks, and with good reason: it contains carnosine a dipeptide of two amino acids that has strong anti-oxidant properties. 

Ali and Tom over at Nourishing Meals have created a super-charged chicken soup for this cold & flu season. The extra additions are guaranteed to kick-start the immune system, so cook up a big pot and pop some in the freezer - we have a long winter ahead of us!


Super Immune-Boosting Chicken Soup

Broth Ingredients:
  • 1 whole organic chicken (4 to 5 pounds)
  • 16 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 to 5 shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 whole head garlic, cut in half cross-wise
  • 2 to 3 inches fresh ginger, cut into thin slices
  • 2 tablespoons dried astragalus
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped (optional)
Soup Ingredients:
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
  • 4 to 5 cups sliced napa cabbage
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
To start making the soup, add all ingredients for the broth into an 8-quart stockpot, cover, and simmer for about 1 ½ to 2 hours on low heat.
Place a large colander over another 8-quart pot or large stainless steel bowl. Pour the broth through it to strain out the chicken and vegetables. Place the pot of broth back on the stove. Place the chicken onto a plate to cool. Bring the broth to a boil, add the all of the ingredients for the soup except the napa cabbage and cilantro. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
While the vegetables are cooking, pull all of the meat from the chicken and cut into smaller pieces. Add the chicken to the soup. Once the vegetables are tender, turn off the heat and add the chopped cabbage and cilantro. Taste and adjust salt and seasonings if desired.
Yield: about 12 servings