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Cold-Kicker Spicy Chicken Soup

A guest post by Lucy Kesler, Inn Keeper at The Olde Buffalo Inn B+B, originally published in October of 2012

Cold Kicker Spicy Chicken Soup :: Vintage Kids | Modern World

“Let food be thy medicine,

and medicine be thy food”

– Hippocrates

There was a frost warning out earlier this week for northern Indiana and I’m wearing jeans and socks.

Ahhh….I. Love. Fall.  The colors.  The smells.  The air.  Just about everything.  And I’m ready.  Ready for the change of season and the fall celebrations.  All of it.  Bring it!

Along with the first nippy nights comes this overwhelming urge to cook something!    To chop things and simmer things and stir things.  Something that smells wonderful and tastes even better.  Something that warms you down to the tips of your toes.

And if this wonderful thing is soup and has healing properties, how much better can it get?

This soup is ideal to boost your immune system when you start to feel the first aches and sniffles.  The base of the soup is real chicken stock – a powerhouse of healing and nutrition – just like your grandma used to make!  (Have you tried making perpetual broth?!  it makes cooking broth so easy and this soup would put it all to good use!) It also  contains:

  1. copious amounts of garlic and ginger; two very common medicinal herbs that have been used for centuries because of their antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.

  2. lemon juice; which will aid in fever reduction and is a great natural source of vitamin C

  3. cayenne pepper; which has anti-fungal properties (and it will kick-start the draining of a stuffy nose!)

  4. as well as cinnamon; which is anti-fungal as well and is also known to help relieve headaches and migraines.

But don’t wait until you are sick to make it!!  It’s wonderful even when you’re feeling good and it freezes beautifully.

So here it is –

Cold-Kicker Spicy Chicken Soup


  1. 1/4 c. butter or coconut oil, for a dairy free version

  2. 1 chicken cut up

  3. 4 chopped cloves garlic

  4. 2 crushed cloves garlic

  5. 2 medium onions

  6. 6-8 carrots sliced

  7. 3 ribs celery sliced

  8. 16 cups chicken stock preferably homemade

  9. ½ c fresh lemon juice

  10. 1 Tb. fresh grated lemon peel

  11. 3/8 t cinnamon

  12. 4 Tb. fresh grated ginger root

  13. 2 t cayenne pepper flakes omit or reduce amount if serving this to children - it does come out spicy!

  14. 2 bay leaves

  15. ¼ to ½ cup basil fresh or frozen—see below on how to do this

  16. Salt and pepper

  17. Cooked rice


Heat a small amount of butter (or coconut oil for a dairy free version) in the bottom of your stock pot and then add the onions, celery and carrots and cook for just a few minutes to start them cooking. You can also brown the chicken at this point, if you like (I don’t usually, but it does enhance the flavor of the chicken).

Add all the remaining ingredients to the pot EXCEPT the basil and the cooked rice.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the chicken and veggies are tender.

Remove the chicken, cool it a bit so you don’t burn your fingers and remove the meat from the bones. Return the meat to the pot.

When everything is tender, add the basil and then taste for salt and add if needed. (or if it’s one of those kind of days…just throw everything into the pot and cook it until tender, it is still fabulous).

To serve place some cooked rice in the bottom of your soup bowl and then ladle in the soup. If you add the cooked rice to the soup I think it soaks up way too much of the liquid, so I always make and serve the rice separately.

(side note: This recipe calls for fresh basil (dried just doesn't do it), which is a fine thing for September, but not so fine in January. Have you seen the prices on those little boxes of fresh herbs!!?? So right now, before it frosts go out and strip your basil plants of every leaf you can find. Give them a quick rinse in the sink and then with just the tiny bit of water that clings to them, whirl them in your food processor. You don’t want a puree, just chopped. I measure mine in ½ cup portions into freezer bags. I store my individual freezer bags in a large bag to keep them all together in the freezer and to keep my ice from tasting like basil. Then in January, when you need to make this recipe, there’s the basil. Or if you want fresh pesto, start with about 1 cup frozen chopped and follow your favorite recipe (mine has 1/3 cup olive oil, ½ c walnuts, 3 cloves garlic, ½ cup parmesan cheese and ½ t salt). Oh, and be prepared when you open this bag of frozen basil for the intoxicating smell of basil and summer to float up to your nose!)

Do you have a favorite cold-kicker recipe?

photo amended by me, but originally from this great photographer

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