Monday, February 23, 2009

Jewish Penicillin

Ahh, life here in South Western Virginia. Here we are in February and the weather outside is truly frightful: one day it is in the 60's and less than a week later we're back to in the 30's, along with insane wind and flurries. It really isn't a huge mystery why we're all getting sick, is it?
Justin and I were feeling pretty beat-up last night, and I still had dinner looming ahead of me. At times, cooking is less of a pleasure and more of a chore, but when you're not feeling too good it can appear downright like torture!! But, aha, it would be food to the rescue, via some homemade chicken noodle soup.
Ok, first, some confessions. One, it wasn't chicken noodle soup. It was turkey noodle soup! When we buy turkeys from the farm (pasture raised as they ought to be), we always get at least two. I, of course, make stock with the cooked carcasses, and store that away for future uses. That second turkey though we tend to have a lot of left-overs with that get safely stored away in the freezer. Second Confession: I've NEVER made homemade chicken (or turkey) noodle soup before!! YIKES!! I was raised on Campbell's and until now that had always been good enough. Third Confession: if there had been Campbell's in the cupboard, I probably would've made it last night. I am SO glad we didn't have any!!
Here is the basic recipe:

Chicken or Turkey Noodle Soup:
I chose a regular sized stock-pan, one I would use for making chili in. Into this went frozen and canned (I canned this year!) homemade turkey stock. Don't use water!! I did this, not wanting the flavor to be too strong and I ended up adding some bouillon to it because it tasted to watery ~ bleh! But, if yours comes out watery, know to just add some bouillon to fix it. Pretty much fill up the pot with stock.
Into this I added (all organic stuff): 3 chopped up carrots, 2 diced up onions, 3 cloves of garlic (minced), and some nice amounts (tablespoon or so) of dill, tarragon, and parsley, along with salt & pepper to taste. Bring it all to a boil, reduce heat to a rolling simmer, and let cook about 20 minutes or so ~ I knew it was good to go when the carrots were soft.
We took already-cooked turkey out of the freezer, and heated it up. We then chopped up a good amount of it (small chopping board full .. let's say somewhere between 4 & 6 cups worth), and tossed it into the pot.
Finally, after we knew the veggies were cooked to where we were happy with them, we added a bag of Egg Noodles, brought it all back to a boil, reduced the heat again, and let it cook for a good 10 minutes or so. You'll know it is ready when the aroma is so intoxicating that you're ready to dunk your head in the pot!!
I have to tell you, Campbell's has NOTHING on this homemade soup! I can't wait to try this again and actually make the noodles myself. Making the soup was really nice and easy too. Just taking already put-by food out and tossing it into the pot, cutting up some veggies and tossing them in, and then resting until it was done. This is the type of cooking that, when you're sick, is DEFINITELY NOT a chore or torture!!!! We had a lot more than we could eat ~ some leftovers went into the fridge for today's lunch, the rest went into the freezer for future meals. Some we shared with relatives who are also battling the cold. If you're not already an old hand at canning, I would recommend freezing the soup.
There is a reason chicken noodle soup is affectionately known as "the Jewish penicillin." When made with pasture-raised poultry (this is KEY and I can't stress the importance of that enough!!), the fat in the skin of the chicken is chock-full of CLA. Conjugated Linoleic Acid. This is some serious sick-germ-butt-kickin' stuff!!! This is NOT a time to be scared of some fat in the soup ~ you're sick and you want it!! For more info on CLA, scroll down to the post on making stock .. or also read "Real Food; what to eat and why" by Nina Planck.
If you haven't made this before, try it. You won't regret it and you won't give a second look at canned soup in the grocery aisle. When you get a little more of an appetite, pair it with some fresh-baked, homemade bread to help fill you up some more.
~And, just for the record: yes, we have a cold, no we haven't taken any OTC, chemically-filled, medicine. We did take some homeopathic cold-care medicine from Hyland's (check out my main blog to learn more there), but we only had 3 pills left, and we'll have to order more online. So, really, no meds at all. I've been sucking on some "herbal supplement" lozenges from Hall's (yes, yes, I know - but they were in the medicine closet & I am frugal!!), trying to get this dry hack down, but they don't seem to be helping. Other than that, lots of fluids (especially some raw milk!!! Vitamin C galore there!!), warm teas, and even some hot cocoa with whiskey in it!!
A close relative has the same cold, and loaded up on the meds. She seemed to really struggle with it, but after a long weekend, seems to be back on her feet. I think it is the meds that were making her struggle so hard with the cold, meds always seem to make you feel more awful while they're supposedly making you feel better.
Colds need time. Give your body time. Rest, get fluids, make up a big batch of homemade chicken (or turkey) noodle soup. Eat, drink, rest, repeat. Feel better soon and know that you haven't added anything other than goodness (and maybe some whiskey ... we can argue the merits of that another time) to your body.

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