Friday, January 18, 2013

Chicken Soup for the Soul

I'm in the final days left in my sugar detox and I'm doing great! I feel as though I've been making some major strides with my overall health.  For instance, I've been taking melatonin before I go to bed for the past few months because I have trouble falling asleep. Yet, a few nights ago I was able to sleep sans melatonin! I fell asleep and only woke up once. Oh the heavenly choir is singing!

Another plus to cutting sugar, is that I cook from scratch more often. (I know I've said this before, but it's the truth.) I've started to set culinary goals for myself to conquer in 2013. One of those is to make chicken soup completely from scratch. Make the broth, cook the chicken, let it all simmer and get happy. The whole nine yards. Well... I can now scratch that off the list!

Homemade Chicken Soup (in the Pressure Cooker)

  • fat of choice (I used lard)
  • 8-9 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch collard greens, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 3-4 large carrots, chopped
  • 4-5 cups homemade stock (I used this recipe, but using both chicken and beef bones)
  • 1 tbsp 5 spice powder
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tbsp sodium free chicken seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • Heat fat of choice in the pressure cooker over medium high heat.
  • Add the chicken in two batches, and cook until browned on both sides. Set aside.
  • Add any extra cooking fat, if need be, toss in the onion and carrots. Saute until softened.
  • Add the minced garlic and saute for another minute.
  • Add the collard greens and cabbage. Cook until the collards have wilted.
  • Add the seasonings, browned chicken and stock (I'm not exactly sure how much I used, hence the 4-5 cups. You can use your judgement and preference. If you want it a little more liquid-y, add more stock.) 
  • Place the lid on the pressure cooker. Turn the heat to high and let the pot come to high pressure. Once reached, turn the heat down to the lowest temperature to maintain high pressure and let the soup cook for 10 minutes. 
  • Remove the pot from heat. Use the quick release method to release the steam.
  • Open the lid and take out the chicken and remove the thigh bones. Shred/cut up the chicken and then add it back to the soup.
  • Taste, adjust the seasonings to your taste and enjoy!
I know I whipped this sucker up in the pressure cooker, but it could also be done in a slow cooker. Brown the chicken thighs first, then add everything to the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. 

This soup tastes wonderful! The five spice powder adds just a little something extra. You could totally sub in other spices to change the flavor profile and to suit your personal culinary flair. Plus, with this winter being the worst flu season for some time, this is the perfect soup to make!

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