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File this one under, get well soon.

I never get sick. I can’t even remember the last time I had a cold. In fact, I can hang out with the sickest of the sick and it doesn’t faze me. My immune system scoffs at cooties.

At least until last weekend’s all-day, convoluted flight aboard a Delta 757 hack-a-thon.

There was no where to run. No where to hide. I couldn’t escape the recirculating, germ-infested, potently disgusting, cough cloud.

Drats, I’m down for the count.

Now what?

Here’s my answer — shiitake mushroom, vegetable, and chicken soup.

Take that, you cold cooties.

I’ve been making different versions of this soup for years. I don’t have a recipe. I made it up and it varies depending on what I have on hand. One thing that doesn’t change is the base, which I make out of chicken broth, mushrooms (usually shiitake, but others will do), and a potato. That’s my medicinal launching pad.

Here’s how it goes, but remember, this is an outline, not an exact formula. Be creative.

Melissa’s medicinal soup
What you need
1 small to medium-sized potato, peeled and chopped *
handful of shiitake mushrooms (about 1/2 cup), cleaned and chopped
8 cups chicken broth, divided (if not homemade, I use Imagine GF Organic Chicken Broth)
2 tablespoons oil (I use coconut oil, but any will do)
1/2 cup chopped onions
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1 sweet potato or yam, peeled and chopped
8-ounce can organic tomato sauce (not tomato paste, I use this version)
1 cup cooked, diced chicken
beans (one 15-ounce can, or dried cooked beans) *
2 cups spinach
herbs, sea salt, black pepper

What you do
1. Place chopped potato in a medium sauce pan. Cover with about 2 or 3 cups chicken broth and bring to a light boil. Use enough chicken broth to simmer potatoes until fully cooked. After about 10 minutes, add the chopped shiitake mushrooms to the potato/chicken broth mix. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, until potatoes are fully cooked and mushrooms are cooked, but not mushy. Turn heat off, set aside to cool.
2. In a large soup pot, heat oil over low-medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add 2 cups chicken broth, celery, carrots, sweet potato, tomato sauce, and cooked chicken. Turn heat to low.
3. Place cooled chicken broth-potato-mushroom mixture into a VitaMix or other blender. Make sure the mixture has cooled somewhat. Add another cup or two of room-temperature chicken broth and blend until all ingredients are incorporated. Mixture should be a gravy-like consistency, but not too thick. Add more broth during blending as needed. Pour the blend into soup pot, along with any remaining chicken broth. At this point, all the chicken broth (approximately 8 cups), the cooked chicken, and the vegetables, with the exception of the beans and the spinach, are in the pot simmering on low.
4. Cook on low for 2 hours or more. This can simmer on low all afternoon. Add rinsed beans (any kind is fine), herbs, seasonings, and spinach about a half hour before you’re ready to serve the soup. Canned beans get mushy if you cook them too long, add them add the end.
5. Serve and get well soon.

Cook’s notes (important):
* I normally use a small-medium Red potato for this base, because it has less starch than a Russet or Yukon Gold. I use potatoes as a thickener in lots of my recipes, rather than using a processed gluten-free flour or starch, but I choose my potato variety according to how much thickening I want in the recipe.
* I often use cooked, dried beans, but when I’m pressed for time, I use a can of beans (any kind) from Eden Organics.  Canned beans retain their fiber and Eden Organics uses BPA-free cans. Canned beans are a healthy choice in a meal like this.
Simply Organic All Purpose Seasoning is my favorite “go-to” seasoning. I use about 2 tablespoons in this recipe.
* Rather than adding the spinach to the soup, a half a cup of raw baby spinach can be placed in the bottom of a soup bowl or mug. Ladle the hot soup directly over the spinach and gently stir. That way the spinach is warm, but also fresh and just lightly wilted. That’s my favorite way to add spinach to soups.

Peace, love, and cootie-busting soup.
Melissa

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16 Responses to “Melissa’s medicinal soup”

  1. Alta says:

    I love mushrooms in a soup like this. It adds such depth of flavor. I even have dried shiitakes around just to use in a pinch.

    Hope you’re feeling better!

    • Melissa says:

      Alta,

      I’m not a big mushroom fan because of the texture, but they’re so nutritious (and I like the earthy taste) that I try to sneak them into recipes in different ways. You’re so right, they add “depth of flavor” to soups. Perfect! Wish I had said that. =)

  2. IrishHeart says:

    Yup. Nothing like an enclosed place for germ stew.
    I used to teach and when one student “achooed” and hacked, my first thought was “Uh-oh!”

    This soups sounds yummy–whether we’re sick or not!
    I never get sick either. No colds or flu (I am touching wood as I make these bold statements LOL ) and I do not get a flu shot.

    It appears my immune system scoffs at cooties, too.
    Granted, I had years of not being well, but that was different. That was before DX. Now that I am healing my gut, my immune system is working very well indeed.

    Thanks for the recipe, Melissa and I hope you recover very quickly. Cheers!

    • Melissa says:

      Irish Heart,

      Thanks so much for your comment. You always make me smile! Germ stew is right! So glad to hear your healing process is working. Getting your digestive system in order makes for a healthy body all over.

      And yes, it’s best to “knock on wood” when you make those, “I never get sick” statements. It seems that’s when you get slammed. I was safe gloating in my blog post since I was already sick. =)

      I’m on the mend already, and this soup has helped!

  3. Melissa, this soup that you can vary as you wish really sounds wonderful. I love all the ingredients and possible ingredients! I especially love the tip on just adding the spinach to one’s bowl and then filling with soup. Mr. GFE does not like spinach and other greens in his soup so this is a perfect solution for me. :-) That photo of the ingredients is gorgeous. I just love how pretty real food is. Last, since I went gluten free, I don’t get colds and illnesses either (knocking on wood). I’ve gotten glutened and had some symptoms for a day or two and I believe I had at least one post-airplane experience myself, but nothing like in my gluten-full days. Sheesh, I was sick a lot then. All that said I hope this soup worked its magic and you are feeling much, much better!

    xo,
    Shirley

    • Melissa says:

      Shirley,

      The base of this soup is a launching pad for so many different versions. Soup is made for creativity — and also for cleaning out the fridge! =) Well, we know how much gluten sabotages the immune system and plays havoc on every system in the body, so it stands to reason that getting rid of it will help the immune system do its real job!

      Putting greens in the bottom of the bowl or mug is the way I like to add them to soups. Glad that works for you and Mr. GFE!

      Thanks for your comment about the photo. I like taking pictures of my food in its whole form. It gives you a much better sense of the nutritional value.

  4. Donna says:

    Home made chicken bone broth is perfect for cancer patients. Save carcass bones of roasted chickens along with any raw necks and simmer with a couple of bullion cubes and onion, carrot and celery for a 2 hours minimum. Strain and freeze in small containers so patient can remove as needed. I had the unfortunate experience of recently losing two friends to ovarian cancer who both decided to forgo treatment and work with Hospice. For one friend I made a batch with chicken meat and rice for times she felt like eating more along with the plain broth batch. She called it my “magic elixir” since it was all she could eat that made her feel good. Both commented they liked the smell and could drink the broth from a mug. If you know a cancer patient it makes a nice gift. My friends had only my broth for nourishment in their last days. I feel privileged I found a way to help keep them comfortable.

    • Melissa says:

      Donna,

      Wow, what a heartfelt comment. Thank you for sharing your experience (and broth recipe) with us. Magic elixir is right, especially when you make something like that with love to share with someone who is suffering. That’s what life is all about. You certainly brought that point home with your meaningful story. My heart goes out to you. And again, thank you.

    • Rhonda L. says:

      First, I am sorry for your loss. I have just discovered bone broth and I am using it in everything. I used it tonight to thin the mashed potatoes I made for my boys and I also braised some kale and chard in it. Yum. My freezer is now stocked. What a great find. I feel like I know a secret. The next time I am sick I will be making one kick butt soup with all these yummy ingredients. What a great post. Thanks,

  5. Melissa! The cooties got you!! So sorry to hear that, as you know I had a nasty strain of the flu at Christmas.

    Mushrooms, especially shiitakes and maitakes, also have immune boosting properties. So not only do they add “depth of flavor” (so awesome) you were instinctively gravitating toward immune health. Because you are awesome like that. :)

    http://www.naturalnews.com/023633_cancer_mushrooms_health.html

    • Melissa says:

      Hello Erin!

      I remember you had the crud at Christmas. What a drag, especially during the holidays. Ugh! I’m getting better fast, so the cooties are freaking out. As for the immune support of mushrooms, I’ve always heard that and they play a significant role in Chinese medicine, but all the scholarly articles I read about immune function were for mushroom extract, not regular mushrooms, so I didn’t want to make any major claims. They’re an excellent source of B vitamins and lots of other nutrients (including iron and vitamin D), so they have to be good for immune function. All this good stuff works together!

      Thanks for adding the Natural News link here! I appreciate it (from a fellow science info junkie).

  6. Jenn says:

    I could use some of this this weekend! Hopefully it does the trick for me, and I hope you are feeling better soon too!

    • Melissa says:

      Oooh, Jenn, are you sick, too? Hope you’re okay. I’m doing much better, thank you for the well-wishes. I’ve been sipping this soup daily and it’s doing its job.

      You take care!

  7. Maggie says:

    Oh glorious soup! We don’t usually put mushrooms in our soup, but we do eat them since Pete LOVES them! A local mushroom farmer supplies us all winter long, it’s fabulous. I was told at one time that mushrooms can be contaminated with wheat because of how they’re grown. Have you ever come across such info?
    Glad to hear you’re on the mend!

  8. Bonnie says:

    I would love to print this soup recipe but can’t find a print sign ? Help ?

  9. Kelly says:

    I had exactly the same thing happen this week! Gotta hate being stuck in the recirculating air. This soup looks like just the ticket though! Glad to hear you are doing better! Thanks for sharing :)

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