Immune Support Soup

Posted on Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Soups are a great way to nourish and support our bodies as the seasons change. The changing weather challenges our bodies, and we can become more prone to illness. Soups help to keep us warm as the winter chill begins and can nourish us with herbs, seaweed, and mushrooms for wellness and vitality.

Bone marrow is a critical ingredient in my homemade stock. My Slovenian grandmother Antonjia would suck the marrow out of the bones after our roast chicken meals. She was a bastion of health and wellness her entire life. So rather than having a clarified stock, I have my butcher cut the chicken bones up so the marrow extracts more easily into the soup. This leaves a cloudy stock that I believe has more nutrients than a clear stock. However you can also start from an organic stock and go straight to the soup recipe.

If you don’t have all the ingredients list below – don’t worry – use what you have. Be creative.

Stock recipe:

5 lbs organic chicken parts or chicken from a butcher (If using a whole chicken, remove chicken meat just after stock is brought to boil and reserve.)
10-12 cups fresh water
3 carrots, cut into thirds
2 parsnips, quartered
5 celery stalks, cut into thirds
2 onions, quartered
1 oz astragalus root
4 inches of kombu seaweed, leave as a large piece
3 bay leaves
1 leek (optional), cut into thirds
1-2 tsp salt

Bring all ingredients to a boil. Skim the top layer of the stock and discard. Then cover and simmer for at least 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Strain and keep stock. Discard veggies and chicken carcass. Transfer astralagus and kombu to stock.

Soup recipe:

Add to stock:

Reserved chicken
Reserved astralagus
Kombu from stock, cut into small pieces
8 – 12 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms
1-2 burdock roots, sliced into bite-sized rounds
2 inches grated ginger root, or enough to taste
6-8 cloves garlic

Simmer 15 minutes to ½ hour. Serve immediately.

You can freeze extra stock for times when you need a boost. I tend to eat from the same soup for several days. I simply add the veggies and herbs I like for each bowl. Carrots, corn, broccoli, tomatoes, and cabbage are among my favorites. Some immune herbs you can add to soup are fresh or dried sage, thyme, or parsley. These herbs can be added generously for their antioxidant and antibacterial properties.