Posted on January 25th, 2016 by by foodie

Chicken Soup for your Bones

A compliment that I cherish greatly is that my husband thought my chicken soup tasted like his Grandmother’s. She was an immigrant from Europe and, although I never met her, she was someone I would have loved to know and learn from. Pragmatic. Cook. Gardener. Hard working. I discovered that her secret ingredient was squeezing in lemon juice at the end.

I enjoy making my own soup stock. We are not vegetarians (although we do love vegetables) so my freezer has two bags of bones: poultry and beef++ (for all other meats). When one bag gets full, the bones go in a slow cooker on a Friday night. I let it cool overnight and skim the fat.  It normally makes 12-16 cups and I compost the solids. You can find my basic soup stock recipe here »

I started this post by researching the health benefits of soup stock. There was a study in 1978 that indicated chicken soup relieved cold symptoms better than hot or cold water.[1] Turns out – it’s controversial but the old saying has stuck around that chicken soup cures a cold.

Increasing the intake of nutrients rich in antioxidants contributes to increased longevity and helps in healthy aging. [2]  Soup is an infusion of vegetables (and bone marrow if you’re an omnivore). Cooking breaks down the thick cell walls of many plants, releasing the nutrients stored in them. One of ways to maximize vitamin C in soups is to stir in fragile vegetables, like spinach and peas, in the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Finish the soup with a splash of wine (white for poultry, red for beef) and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

This week I’m using fish broth in a stew for dinner. I froze the last batch in containers, leaving ½ cup for headspace. The recipe calls for 3½ cup plus 2/3 cup of white wine, mixed seafood, and tomatoes. It’s served over couscous and we’ll enjoy a side of steamed cauliflower. The recipes are below:

Question: Do you have a family recipe where the secret to the taste is a dash of this and a pinch of that?


[1] K Saketkhoo; A Januszkiewicz; M A Sackner. Chest. 1978;74(4):408-410.
[2] Shikha Bathla1, Tanu Jain IJSR V4:5, 2015