Cure-All Chicken Soup with Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes
Let me fill you in on the backstory. I love fall, but that wonderful chill in the air can sometimes lead to not so wonderful things…specifically, a cold. When my roommate got sick early last week, I felt sorry for him, but I felt more sorry for myself. Between the shared bed and the lack of doors in our tiny living space, I knew I was screwed.
Naturally, I did everything I could to avoid catching Logan’s cold. I took vitamins, pounded orange juice, and tried to limit all touching between myself and the infected party to affectionate pats on the back. However, short of forcing him to cover his nose and mouth with a surgical mask and wearing a “Don’t touch me!” sign around my neck, there wasn’t much I could do.
By Friday, I could feel the cold starting to sneak up on me. The fact that I spent Saturday with some friends gutting a water-damaged house in the Rockaways didn’t exactly improve my situation health-wise. (Manual labor isn’t usually my thing, but they need some serious help out there. Check out: http://www.ob.org to get involved). Needless to say, while helping out warmed my heart, it left the rest of my body cold. And wet.
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Sunday was rough, and by Monday I was on death’s door (see Exhibit A). We all know that being sick blows. You feel terrible, and even worse, you look terrible. For this reason, I like to be left alone when I’m ill. When people are around to “take care of me,” I feel the need to put on a brave face (and clothes), which cramps my sick style. I’m much happier putting on my pajama set, closing the curtains in my apartment, and whimpering pathetically whenever I feel like it.
Realistically, lying in the dark in your pajamas watching tv and catching up on your facebook stalking won’t necessarily cure what ails you (but it certainly helps). If you’re anything like me when you’re sick, you want your mom and you want some chicken soup. Unfortunately, unless you live at home (no judgment), your mom probably isn’t going to magically appear and take care of you. Sorry. At least I can help you with the soup part!
Next time you’re feeling under the weather, whip up some of this cure-all chicken soup:
It’s warm, extremely flavorful, and full of restorative goodness. Plus, the cayenne pepper will help clear out your sinuses. I made this yesterday, and it really turned things around for me. Oh, and if you’re dying and are far too sick to make it for yourself, I recommend hinting to your roommate/friend/significant other/mom how much better soup would make you feel. Then email them this recipe and hope for the best.
Cure-All Chicken Soup with Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes: (Serves 4 generously…or one sick person for 2 full days)
2 bone-in chicken breasts, skin and excess fat removed (Yes, you can also use boneless skinless breasts OR the breast meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken to save time.)
2 quarts low-sodium chicken stock, divided
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
4 celery ribs, washed and sliced into ¼-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium sweet potato, cut into ¾-inch cubes (approximately 2 cups cubed sweet potato)
Cayenne pepper (optional)
½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
For garnish: (optional)
¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro
1 avocado, diced
Preparing your Cure-All Chicken Soup: (Serves 4 generously…or one sick person for 2 full days)
-Place the chicken breasts in a medium saucepan or Dutch oven. Add enough chicken stock to cover the breasts and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the stock and shred it using two forks (or your hands). Cover and set aside until ready to use.
-Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When hot add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are just tender.
-Add the sweet potato and cayenne pepper and cook for 1 minute. Strain the chicken stock used to cook the chicken breasts into the pot and add the remaining stock (i.e. whatever you did not use to cook the chicken). Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until the sweet potatoes are just tender.
*I updated the photos and recipe in this post on 11/14/14 because I love this recipe, and I felt like the former photos (which used my toilet seat as a white background) weren’t doing this magical soup justice.
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