Sick Day Soup


Wow, I didn't make it out of August before I made my first soup of the upcoming cold weather season.  Stick with this blog long enough and you'll learn that soup is probably my favorite thing to make during winter.  They just seem like the most appropriate thing to eat- filling, warm, and there's so much variety.  If you were raised in a house like mine, you probably also think of chicken soup and sickness together.  Not that chicken soup makes me sick, but it's one of those foods I want when I don't feel well.  It just makes you feel better, and there is some research that suggests that it's not a placebo effect.  The warmth of the broth, combined with some of the gelatin and other goodies in chicken stock, really do help you feel better.

Yesterday firefighter husband Drew was sick.  He was so sick that he called in to work.  This has happened maybe one other time in his career so far.  It's not like when people with 9-5 office jobs call in.  You better really be sick to call in sick as a firefighter because so many people depend on you.  So what I'm trying to say is that it's a pretty big deal that he called in.  I knew this called for soup. 

Now if you're sick and really want the healing powers of chicken soup, you will make a slow cooked stock that simmers on the stove for 12 hours.  It's hardcore.  The bones of the chicken are soft and pliable like Gumby when you're done.  That's another post for another time.  If, however, you've worked all day and have no homemade stock on hand, you go for what you can- storebought.

I have made the chicken soup off the back of the Swanson brother box, and I have made a soup from a Southern Living that added lemon.  Now, the Swanson recipe is a good, solid chicken soup recipe.  It's one that you can call yours because it takes more work than opening a can and pouring its contents into a pot.  The Southern Living recipe was good as well, and I liked the lemon twist, especially when your throat is sore. 

Upon scouring the internet for a good recipe combining lemon and chicken in soup, I came across a lot of avgolemono recipes that I want to try, but felt that it was too risky to try a new recipe on a sick patient.  Then I found Giada de Laurentis' Lemon Chicken Soup with Spaghetti and decided to give it a whirl.  This is the recipe, right here.  I have a feeling that from here on out it will be our sick day soup.

Lemon Chicken Soup with Spaghetti
from Giada de Laurentis, courtesy of foodnetwork.com

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 dried bay leaf
1 (2-inch) piece Parmesan cheese rind, optional
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
2 cups diced cooked rotisserie chicken, preferably breast meat
1 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt
In a large stockpot, bring the chicken broth, lemon juice, bay leaf, and Parmesan rind, if using, to a boil over medium-high heat.

Add the carrots and simmer until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add the broken pasta and cook until the pasta is tender, for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken and heat through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and the Parmesan rind and discard. Stir in 1/2 of the cheese and the parsley. Season with salt, to taste. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

  • I purchased two boxes of broth (most chefs/cooks seem to prefer the box to the can) and used around 7-7 1/2 cups of broth. You may want more than the 6 cups this recipe recommends.
  • I used a 7 qt stock pot and had a TON of room left. I recommend a pot that holds maybe 3-4 qt.
  • I used spaghetti, but next time I think I'll try ditalini or orzo pasta. Just a personal preference
  • I did use a cheese rind- even though parmesan or parmigiano reggiano cheese on a block seems expensive, it will last a long time and is worth the cost. When you have gotten all you can off the cheese, you can freeze or save the rind for soups, which gives the soup a salty nuttiness. It's the gift that keeps on giving.
  • I didn't measure the lemon juice; I just used the juice of two lemons.  It probably equated to 1/3 to 1/2 cup.  The lemon flavor is pretty pronounced.  Feel free to use less or dilute that flavor with more broth.

This is how I juice a lemon, which can be pretty subjective in the kitchen.  Juicing it through a strainer, though, cuts down on a unitasker filling up your drawer and it allows you to have filtered juice to pour straight into your pot.

I hope you all enjoy this- if you make it let me know what you think!

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