Nothing soothes and warms like a homemade chicken soup. This soup is especially warm, delicious and comforting, especially in the middle of a cold, wet, winter. You don’t have to be sick to appreciate its healing qualities, but it certainly will warm your soul and your body if you are.
Avgolemono–it’s a mouthful! (avgo means ‘egg’; lemono means ‘lemon’) soup is a dish that Greek mothers make to keep their families healthy. Foods that are warm, comforting, and healthy are also good for the immune system, and your general wellbeing.
What is there about chicken soup that makes it so soothing and healing for colds and flu?
Well one scientist actually studied it to find out. Dr. Stephen Rennard, MD, from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, tested chicken soup on white blood cells. It was found that the chicken soup had strong anti-inflammatory powers, which is why it helps with stuffy noses, sore throats and coughs.
The soup does helps to break up congestion and eases the flow of nasal secretions.
And chicken soup is loaded with valuable nutrients that strengthen the immune system too.
The chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine, that is released when you make the soup. This amino acid is similar to the drug acetylcysteine, which is prescribed by doctors to patients with bronchitis. It thins the mucus in the lungs, making it easier to cough out.
Carrots, one of the routine vegetable ingredients found in chicken soup, are a great source of beta-carotene. The body takes that beta-carotene and converts it to vitamin A. Vitamin A helps prevent and fight off infections by enhancing the actions of white blood cells that destroy harmful bacteria and viruses.
Beyond the soup’s soothing qualities and easy to digest protein, this soup’s mint and oregano contain rosmarinic acid, which helps to open up the bronchial tubes and lungs, and ease respiratory problems. The lemon juice provides vitamin C, and the leeks, garlic and onion deliver antioxidants that are potent cold and flu fighting immune benefits.
This soup tastes every bit as good the next day, but if reheating, be sure to heat over low heat to prevent the eggs from curdling.
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
2 medium leeks, white parts only, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
5-6 cups organic free-range chicken broth
½ cup quinoa or brown rice (in stead of the traditional orzo pasta)
2 large organic, free range eggs
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
In a saucepan, add leeks, onion and carrots along with a pinch of sea salt to olive oil. Cook, over medium heat, stirring gently for about 6-7 minutes.
Stir in chicken and broth, add enough salt and pepper to taste. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add rice and cook until tender. Remove from heat.
In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and lemon juice. Add 3 ladles of soup broth to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Mix egg mixture back into soup and cook over low heat for another 2-3 minutes. Do not allow it to boil. Garnish with parsley, mint and fresh oregano and lemon wedges. Serves 4-6.
Till next time,
Stay healthy and lean!