Healing Chicken Soup

Recipes, Soups | September 9, 2016 | By

Healing Chicken Soup

A few weeks ago I was invited to teach healthy cooking with a group of Columbian refuge women who are part of the Refugee Trauma Recovery programme here in Wellington. 

When I was thinking about what we could cook together, I suppose comfort food was on the top of my mind. This group of Columbian women and their families have been through horrible trauma, torture and the stress of not knowing what happened to their loved ones who have disappeared and are feared dead. It was very humbling to spend time with these ladies and hear about their struggles. These women are the fortunate of the unfortunate who have a new home in New Zealand but still, they are left with a great deal of post traumatic stress and worry for loved ones left behind. Their healing has only just begun and nothing about it is easy.

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But what does food have to do with healing from trauma? Food has the power to heal us in so many ways! Familiar tastes can revive old memories and can make us feel safe and warm.  We use food to express love and we in turn feel loved when someone cooks us a home made meal. Food nourishes our bodies and helps us recover from illness. Food from our culture or homeland can be especially meaningful and we can feel very homesick when we move far away and can no longer enjoy these familiar tastes.

I think it is very well known that one of the best healing foods is soup. In fact recent studies have confirmed that soup has probably been a part of traditional human diets dating back 20,000 years! And for good reason.

Every culture has a version of healing soup because people have long known that soup made using the joints and bones of animals has a very special nutrient profile: it is a incredibly healing food because of the breakdown of minerals in the bones as well as cartilage, marrow and skin. These highly absorbable nutrients help fight infections, reduce inflammation, reduce joint pain, regulate hormones, and is easy to digest for people with illness and digestive issues. More recently evidence has shown that it “heals and seals” the broken gut lining in people with permeable gut. Soups made with this “bone broth” are packed full of nutrition as well as being very inexpensive to make and highly comforting.

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With this in mind, I thought we could recreate a well known Columbian chicken soup called Ajiaco using produce that is locally available, donated or foraged from around our area in the middle of winter.

The good people at Kaibosh food rescue donate several boxes of food to the refugee group each week and along with some foraged bay leaves, rosemary, a lemon and a few leaves of kale from my home garden we had the makings of a simple soup using a whole chicken. Because we only had a short time to work together, we used this quick cooking soup method which makes a light flavored chicken broth. In order to make a true bone broth, you would remove the breast and leg meat after one hour and return the bones to the soup and simmer for longer to extract all the nutrients. I will be sure to post more about bone broth soon.

soup-veg-full

We had a lovely afternoon making this simple soup together and enjoying learning about seasonal New Zealand produce and herbs and ways to incorporate them into their traditional Colombian recipes. 

Healing Chicken Soup
Serves 6
A quick and easy chicken soup using seasonal winter vegetables and herbs
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 small Organic Chicken or several thighs and legs with bone and skin
  2. 2 carrots peeled and diced
  3. 2 ribs celery diced
  4. 4 garlic cloves finely diced
  5. 1 onion peeled and finely diced
  6. 2 bay leaves
  7. 1T chopped rosemary
  8. 4 medium size potatoes (any variety) peeled and cut into large chunks
  9. 2 t sea salt plus more to taste
  10. Fresh black pepper
  11. 4 cups finely shredded seasonal greens such as kale or silverbeet
  12. 1 cup loosely chopped fresh parsley
  13. 1 fresh lemon juiced
  14. Olive oil for serving
Instructions
  1. Add chicken, carrots, celery, garlic, onion, herbs and salt and pepper into a stock pot and cover with filtered water (about 2 litres).
  2. Bring to a gentle boil and skim any foam that may rise to the surface. After 15 minutes skim off any bits of foam that are on the surface. This makes for a clear broth and the foam can make the soup taste bitter.
  3. Next, partially cover and gently simmer for 45 min to 1hr on low.
  4. Carefully remove chicken and set aside, allow to cool down a bit while the soup continues to simmer. Break up large potato chunks with a spoon or potato masher leaving some large pieces.
  5. When chicken cool enough to work with, remove meat from the bone and cut into bite size pieces. (I sometimes save half the chicken meat for another use). Return chicken meat to stockpot with greens and parsley. Gently simmer for 15 min. Taste for salt and pepper and serve in bowls with a drizzle of fruity olive oil.
Notes
  1. Save any large chicken bones in the freezer for making your next batch of chicken bone broth.
The Remedy Project http://theremedyproject.co.nz/

Winter Celeriac, Leek and Potato Soup

Recipes, Soups | June 12, 2016 | By

Adapted from a family favorite recipe for potato and leek soup, the subtle addition of celeriac and the aromatic bouquet garni create a velvety and fragrant soup that is wonderfully comforting on a cold drizzly day. Most of these ingredients usually come in my weekly CSA box during the winter and early spring and the herbs are picked fresh from my garden. 

Winter Celeriac, Leek and Potato Soup
Serves 6
A velvety and fragrant soup made from seasonal winter vegetables
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 T Organic Ghee, butter or olive oil
  2. 2-3 leeks (white part only) cleaned and chopped
  3. 2 shallots diced
  4. 1 large onion chopped
  5. 2 organic celery stalks chopped
  6. 2 small or 1 large celeriac peeled and chopped
  7. 4 med size potatoes peeled and chopped (I use whatever is in my CSA)
  8. 1.5 litres homemade bone broth (chicken) or vegetable broth
  9. 2-3 T chopped soft garden herbs such as chives, fennel fronds or parsley for garnish
  10. Olive oil to drizzle
  11. Bouquet Garni: wrap these herbs in cheesecloth, large tea strainer or bouquet garni bag and tie with string. Alternatively, chop thyme, parsley and rosemary and add bay, herbs and fresh ground black pepper to pot.
  12. 2-3 stems of thyme or lemon thyme
  13. 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  14. 2-3 sprigs fresh parsley
  15. 2 bay leaves
  16. 10 black peppercorns
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized stock pot melt ghee over low to med heat.
  2. Add onion, leek, shallots, onion, celery and gently “sweat” for 30 minutes on low to medium heat until the veg are very soft and fragrant. Give the veggies a quick stir every so often to prevent browning.
  3. While vegetables are cooking, prepare bouquet garni
  4. Once the vegetables are soft add celeriac, potato and bouquet garni and pour in the bone broth. Add water if needed to just barely cover veg.
  5. Bring to a gentle simmer and continue to cook, lid on for 30 - 40 min until potato and celeriac are perfectly soft. Remove bouquet garni and purée soup with hand blender or method of choice until rich and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve in bowls garnished with fresh chopped parsley parsley, chives, fennel fronds, black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Notes
  1. Store soup in freezer in individual containers for quick reheating during the week.
The Remedy Project http://theremedyproject.co.nz/