Of course it does. How could anything called Feel-Good Chicken Soup inspire anything besides joy? The dish featured this time has much more than a positive name to recommend it. It tastes great, which, in turn, makes tasters happy. Sure enough, it all adds up in the end.
Not only does the concoction produce contentment, as do most chicken soups, but it’s loaded with chilies, garlic, lemongrass and ginger. These add a spirited boost that not only makes the soup hum with satisfaction, it sings with exuberance.
The soup has a nice title. Its taste matches the billing. What else? Well, it’s healthy too. Majorly so. There are the immunity-boosting properties for which chicken soup already is justly renowned, and today’s submission adds heathy servings of squash and cabbage, both “superfoods” on their own. For those lucky enough to enjoy it, this is a superfood among superfoods.
This soup works wonders, both for the taste buds and beyond. That’s why the recipe jumped off the page when Bon Appetit described it in the January 2016 number. It’s light and refreshing, thanks in part to the herbs that garnish it and to the lime juice diners squeeze. Yet it’s packed with both flavors and nutrients.
When you happen across a delectable dish that’s off-the-charts healthy, the occasion is, indeed, worthy of celebration. No wonder it makes everyone feel good.
Spicy Chicken Stock
- 1 3-pound chicken (*1)
- 1/2 bunch celery, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (*2)
- 1 bunch cilantro stems
- 2 medium carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
- 1 stalk lemongrass, tough outer layer removed, lightly smashed and coarsely chopped
- 8 dried chilies de arbol
- 2 dried guajillo chilies
- 2 jalapeño chilies, halved lengthwise
- 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
- 1 3-inch piece of ginger
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
Place all ingredients in a large stockpot. Add just enough cold water to submerge the ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet to cool, and let stock continue to simmer for another half-hour.
Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin, and shred the remaining meat. This will leave the bones, which you also should discard. All in all, you should have about 4 cups of meat, which you’ll reserve for later use, of course.
Let stock cool, then strain it through a cheesecloth, discarding the solids.
1 – Instead of using a whole chicken, try three pounds of bone-in drumsticks and thighs. It’s more compact this way, it’s more flavorful, and it cools quicker.
2 – A large shallot, or two medium ones, is even better.
Spicy Feel-Good Chicken Soup
- Spicy Chicken Stock, from above
- 1 2-pound acorn squash
- 4 cups thin wedges of mixed cabbages, such as bok choy or napa, sliced thinly
- 4 cups cooked chicken, from above
- salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
- 1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced and seeded
- basil leaves and cilantro, for serving
- 3 limes, cut into wedges, for serving
In a large stockpot set over medium flame, heat the chicken stock.
Meanwhile, cut the squash into four wedges and remove the seeds. Cut each wedge into four pieces.
Add the squash to the stock and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the cabbage and the chicken and cook until warmed through, about four minutes.
Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top with jalapeño slices and fresh leaves. Serve lime wedges alongside for squeezing.