Everything Healthy Soup

When the hubby-to-be catches a cold, it's time to bust out the big guns. It pains me to watch him shuffle about the house and have no energy. Where did this nasty cold come from? I blame the disease incubator that is our office building. It's unsettling how colds roll through a department like a passing wave. You can slowly watch an entire team get taken down, one by one, in the winter. 

My mother's response to any cold was soup and lots of rest. I'm usually a stickler for Canja because that's what I was raised on and it's comforting. This soup started off as Canja... and then transformed into something else entirely.

We lovingly call this, "Everything Healthy Soup." If it's good for you, it was thrown into the pot! Nothing in the kitchen was safe. There are carrots, celery, garlic cloves, grated ginger, onion, spicy pepper flakes, and zucchini. It was a rampage of yummy vegetables. This past year, I discovered avocado in soup and fell in love with the smooth texture. Is there NOTHING it can't be served with?

You determine what goes in the pot. Just make sure it's healthy! Stay well and cold free!

Everything Healthy Soup

1 small whole chicken, rinsed in cold water and cleaned
olive oil
15 whole garlic cloves
large zucchini, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
1/2 onion, sliced
1 avocado, chopped into bite size pieces
2 cups spinach
1 celery, chopped
1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated
dried red pepper flakes
black pepper
sea salt

Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil. Set to medium heat. Add at least a teaspoon of crushed red pepper and the garlic cloves. Let it cook until slightly fragrant, about a minute or two. Add 4 cups of water and bring to boil. Season with salt but go easy- you don't want to oversalt. 

Clean the bird. Rinse in cold water and drain. Add to pot; there should be enough water so that the bird is just barely submerged so add all the water you need. Let cook at a boil for about 5 minutes. Lower heat to low-medium and put the lid on. Leave there for at least one hour- until the meat easily pulls off. 

Carefully remove the bird. DO NOT DRAIN THE POT. You are looking at home made chicken stock. Leave it be! Let the bird cool until it's easy to handle and go to town. I usually don't include the skin because i'm not a fan of its texture.

While the bird is cooling, add the carrots and celery to the pot and keep at low heat. They take the longest to soften but you don't want mush!

Once the bird is easy to handle, shred the chicken to pieces and throw back in the big pot of chicken stock. Set the heat to medium and add the rest of the vegetables. Season to taste with crushed red pepper, pepper, and salt. Add healthy splash of olive oil when done.