Here’s a Cure for You


No matter whether you’re among the legions struggling to overcome a cold this time of year or even if you’re not afflicted but just hope to give winter one final shove out the door (don’t we all?), there’s something about a nice warm bowl of chicken soup that chases the cold.  Not only does it spread a soothing vitality, but it invigorates the soul, fueling it to overcome and exult.

No exaggeration.  Seriously, what was in that soup?

Today’s recipe list is, for once, relatively modest, but each ingredient triumphs in elevating the spirit and in restoring the body’s exuberance.  There is, of course, the chicken, appearing both in the broth and as the main component.  Savory yet light, it’s a healthy and satisfying fortification.

Spinach, added at the end to give it just enough time to begin wilting, provides leafy sustenance with a slightly mineral twang.  Garlic, salt and pepper supply the vocals to this smooth melody.  A handful of rice absorbs all the flavors as it cooks, while imparting a bit of starchiness which gives the broth a certain lustrous sheen.

What carries the day, tough, and really makes this soup sing, is ginger.  Its sweet, almost peppery zest cuts through the chicken’s richness, the rice’s carbs and the spinach’s vegetal greenness to make everything sparkle.  Not surprisingly, ginger helps to settle the stomach and to clear congestion, making this soup perfect medication for those suffering from colds and the like.  Even if you’re feeling fine, this soup is just delicious, and likely will leave you feeling even better.

Today’s preparation, for Chicken-and-Rice Soup with Ginger, appeared in Everyday Food, back when, well, the magazine still existed.  Though the publication sadly is no longer with us, its legacy survives.  Indeed, its influence will be immortal, as long as there are colds to cure and winters to put behind us.

*****

Chicken-and-Rice Soup with Ginger

  • 4 cups chicken broth (*1)
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 one-inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (*2)
  • 1/3 cup long-grain rice (*3)
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a stockpot, bring the broth, 2 cups of water, garlic and ginger to a simmer over medium heat.  Add the chicken and the rice and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about ten minutes.

Remove the chicken and set aside.  Put lid on pot and continue simmering until rice is tender, about ten more minutes.  Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, shred the chicken. (*4)  Add it and the spinach back to the pot and stir to combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

NOTES:

1 – Canned broth is fine and is much easier, but it can’t beat the taste, quality and healthiness of homemade chicken stock.

2 – Instead of breasts I used my favorite poultry cut, the thigh, as it’s tenderer and more flavorful.

3 – Basmati rice is good for this application.

4 – Slicing it thinly, against the grain, also works well.

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