I’m so excited to bring you this compilation of Food is Medicine soups that I cook in our house almost every month. Just a quick (and important) note before we start: I don’t use stock in all my soups, but when I do, it’s always home-made. Most (but not all) mass-produced stock will spoil the goodness of a wholesome soup, with many of them containing excess salt, sugar, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and “flavouring” … not to mention corn starch and maltodextrin. So this article begins with my home-made chicken stock:
1. Chicken Stock
I’ll normally make a free-range roast chicken once every two weeks and the carcass and bones form the base of my stock. Super easy!
Bones from one chicken
1 – 2 Carrots
1 – 2 Celery Sticks
1 Large Onion
A generous bunch of parsley
2 Garlic cloves (optional)
2 Bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste (1 – 2 teaspoons of each for a large pot)
1. Roughly chop the ingredients, add them to a large pot, and then fill the pot up with water. Bring the pot to the boil, and then reduce heat to a gentle simmer for approximately 2 hours uncovered (if you want it more concentrated, allow it to cook longer).
2. Strain the stock and put the liquid in glass jars. Then freeze (remember that water expands slightly when frozen, so don’t fill the glass jars all the way up to the top).
2. Dr. Rav’s Family Chicken Soup Recipe
Ye olde chicken soup. The reality is that it’s relatively cheap, it’s easy, and it’s a pot full of food that is medicine. The chicken flavour is not supposed to overwhelm this soup… rather it should taste of wholesome veggies and herbs with a hint of the chicken. I mean look at the ingredients – they’re all real and simple. So this isn’t going to give you the *zing* that you might be used to with MSG, high-fructose-corn-syrup, and other factory-made umami flavours – sorry guys! But what it should do is remind you of that old-fashioned and simple “real food” feeling. I make this soup at least once a week. Sometimes we’ll have a cup as a pre-dinner ‘food is medicine’ appetiser. And sometimes I’ll just have a cup of the liquid on days that I’m fasting. See what works for you, but know this: If you’re looking to introduce food as medicine as a philosophy in your home, this is one for the ‘Top 10’ list.
2 Chicken pieces (legs or wings)
1 Large onion
1 – 2 Leeks
3 – 4 Baby marrows
4 – 5 Stalks of celery
1/2 Small butternut
3 – 4 Cloves of garlic
1 Large handful of dill (approximately 20g)
1 Large handful of parsley (approximately 20g)
2 Bay leaves
Stock: Approximately 400 – 500 ml of home-made stock (or your stock of choice – but beware of store-bought stock, make sure you are checking the ingredients!)
1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the chicken pieces. Add the bay leaf and 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Turn the heat down and simmer for 1 – 2 hours (the longer the better) with the lid on. Every now and then, scrape off the scum that comes to the surface.
2. Cut all the veggies and herbs into bite size pieces. Once the chicken has had its two hours simmering in the water, add all the veggies, herbs, and the stock and bring the pot back to the boil. Then reduce the heat to allow a gentle boil for a further 2 – 3 hours (partially covered so that it doesn’t boil over).
3. Squash some of the larger veggies (e.g. butternut) into smaller pieces using the ladle if necessary, break the chicken off the bone, and serve.
3. Roasted Red Pepper Soup
How many delicious soups have so few ingredients? Also – I don’t think ingredients get more “mediterranean” than this. This red soup is a food medicine hero! The colour gives it its potency. From the phytochemicals shown to reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, to the vitamin C: Did you know that red peppers have more vitamin C than oranges? What about all the quercetin, a polyphenol which has been shown to turn on longevity genes. Not to mention the anti-viral effect of the garlic. As for the taste: For me, this one is hard to beat!
3 – 4 Large red peppers
3 – 4 Ripe Tomatoes
5 – 6 Garlic Cloves
Herbs: Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme & Basil Stalks
1. Chop the peppers, tomatoes, and garlic into large pieces and spread them on a large baking tray or dish
2. Add the chopped herbs, salt, pepper and some olive oil (3 – 4 tablespoons, don’t be shy!) to the baking tray together together with peppers and tomatoes and pop into an oven, roasting the vegetables at 180 degrees for about 45 minutes
3. While red stuff is roasting in the over, gently fry one chopped onion in a good sized pot… just until it starts to turn brown
4. Once the red stuff is ready, add it to the pot of onions PLUS about 500ml of water – you can add less if you want it thicker
5. Blend everything together using a hand blender and season as necessary
6. I love to add a tablespoon of home-made basil pesto which I stir in just before I serve. You could also add a little creme fraiche or sour cream, a drizzle of olive oil, and some extra basil leaves
Stay with us throughout June and July for more Food is Medicine Soup recipes!