By Nancy Smorch
Winter hit fast here in West Michigan!!!
A week ago Sunday it was 63 degrees. A couple of days later it’s a whiteout!
Mike and Frankie had gone to Florida for a few days, while Lindsey and I stayed back to take care of all the animals (6 horses, 4 cats and 2 dogs can be quite a handful this time of year). Of course, the day after they left, we got hit with a snow storm. It was actually quite beautiful, and we sent pictures to Frankie showing her what she was missing (she couldn’t wait for it to snow!).
The second day of the snow storm was pretty as well - the sun even came out for a bit. The horses frolicked around in their pastures, sticking their noses into the snow and chasing each other up and down the fence line - feeling a little full of themselves and having a good time.
But by the third day, the wind had kicked in - to the tune of 40 miles an hour. This happens often when you live as close to Lake Michigan as we do. Add the snow to the wind and temperatures in the low 20's, and the beautiful white winter wonderland loses most of its appeal!
Lindsey’s and my outside chores - cleaning the stalls and barn and feeding the horses - now took twice as long as normal, what with frozen water buckets, a pathway to the manure dumpster that needed to be shoveled, and fence repairs made with duct tape (the fence gets more brittle with the cold weather).
I knew she (and I) were going to need some extra nutrients to stay healthy. That’s when I remembered I had a great recipe for Homemade Chicken Soup.
I got this recipe from a friend of mine that lives on a farm in Northern Michigan. I remember visiting her one cold fall afternoon, and she pulled some chicken stock out of the freezer. It was amazing - I had never tasted chicken soup so good. She even used some of the stock the next day for some homemade egg drop soup which was equally as good.
I searched my files and folders for her recipe, and began to make her version of Homemade Chicken Soup. It’s really quite simple. It just requires some planning ahead, as it needs to simmer for quite a while.
One of the reasons that I was so excited to make this soup was that with all of the research I’ve been doing about food, I learned that soup made with the whole chicken has a ton of nutrients; and, when you add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar, it helps pull those nutrients into the stock. I didn’t realize that the very first time I made it, which was a couple of years ago. I wasn’t a big vinegar fan, so I left that out of the recipe.
This time, I made sure I didn’t skip that step!
The soup turned out great, and it was exactly what Lindsey and I needed to get us through the next few days of snow! It was so good that we made another batch today. There really is a lot of truth to the idea of making homemade chicken soup when you are sick - and for when you are healthy as well!
Bundle up and stay warm this winter and take care of yourself with healthy immune-boosting foods, like chicken soup!
4 quarts cold, filtered water
1 whole organic chicken
2 Tbsp. vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 large onion, chopped
4 large carrots, cut into big chunks
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 bunch parsley
Place everything in the water except the parsley and let set for 1 hour, with no heat.
After sitting, bring the ingredients to a boil, remove any film that comes to the top.
Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 6 to 12 hours.
10 minutes before finishing, add the parsley.
Season with salt and pepper.
Put the stock through a strainer to remove all the chicken and vegetables.
Add back to the stock any chicken meat and vegetables you want in your soup, stir, and serve.