The flu season this year is really scaring me. Last year, the Peanut came down with the flu and it was such an unsettling week. I haven’t seen her that sick ever. She was honestly delirious and didn’t know what day it was or even what time of day. Our pediatrician sent us home from our visit with a prescription to make homemade chicken soup: “The REAL kind, made from chicken bones.”
When I went hunting for a real deal chicken soup for the flu, I only found recipe after recipe that called for adding pre-cooked chicken meat to boxed stock. I experimented with a couple recipes and my Instant Pot, but felt frustrated that the process wasn’t more simple.
Over our winter break, we were all craving some homemade soups to beat back the cold weather. I stumbled across a new recipe for homemade chicken soup that is just right for chasing the flu away. It involves a real whole chicken, oodles of roasted garlic, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and spicy cayenne powder. It’s like all the major home remedies rolled into one totally delicious AND EASY homemade chicken soup.
Handyman Tim took one bite and declared this soup: “Epic!” For a guy that is fairly stingy with his praises, this was a jaw-dropping comment.
With flu season at it’s feverish peak right now, I wanted to share this with you. It makes a nice big batch so you’ll have plenty to stock your freezer with single-serving containers for emergencies. It is a lot spicier than regular soup and it does a phenomenal job of clearing your sinuses. When I made it a second time, the spices seemed not as strong despite using the same quantities. So, be sure to taste test it before serving. You want the cayenne and cinnamon to really show through so don’t be shy about adding a little more if it needs it.
If you think your kids would shy away from the lemon and spices, you might prefer this crockpot chicken soup. It is also made from a real raw chicken breast, but is a little bit more hands-off for you to make.
P.S. If you liked this healthy recipe, you’ll love the updates I send to the subscribers of my email newsletter. You can sign up for your very own copy right here.
The Ultimate Homemade Chicken Soup for the Flu:
Adapted from The New England Soup Factory Cookbook which is available for only $5 on Kindle right now!
- 20 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 whole raw chicken
- 1 large onion
- 6 carrots
- 3 ribs of celery
- 12 cups of chicken stock
- ¾ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (4-6 lemons)
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 2 tsp dried mint leaves
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cups cooked jasmine rice
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a small baking dish with a square of tin foil. Place the peeled garlic cloves and the olive oil into the dish and loosely wrap and cover it with the foil. Cover the baking dish and bake for 35 - 40 minutes until the garlic is softened and caramelized. Remove the garlic from the oil and mash it in a small dish with a fork. Set aside.
- Rinse the chicken in cold water and place it in a large stockpot. Peel the onion and cut it into quarters, add it to the pot. Peel the carrots and dice them into bite-sized pieces, add them to the pot. Rinse the celery and chop it into small chunks, add it to the pot.
- Pour the chicken stock over the veggies and chicken and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the reserved garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, mint, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 2½ hours.
- Use a pair of large slotted spoons or spatulas to carefully remove the chicken and place it on a plate. The chicken will be so tender, it's wise to use your slotted spoon to check the pot for any remaining small bones that might have broken away. Remove the bay leaves when you find them.
- Remove the chicken skin, shred the chicken meat, and return the chicken meat to the soup pot. Stir in the cooked rice. If the soup seems too thick, you can add a cup or two of chicken stock or water to help thin it back out.
- Test the seasonings and adjust. The soup should be bright and lemony with a spicy kick from the mint and cayenne.