It’s easy to get sick as the weather changes from winter to spring. While you might just feel like crawling under the covers until a virus passes, try making one of the best soups when sick instead. A homemade soup loaded with illness-fighting ingredients will help you feel better in no time.
Soups are much better than solid foods at keeping your body nourished, hydrated and decongested. A warm, comforting soup is good to make as the seasons change even if you aren’t feeling under the weather. Healing soups help your body adjust to changing temperatures and give you a vitamin boost to ward off colds and other viruses.
Here are the best soups when you’re sick from The New York Times’ cooking section.
1.) Chicken Soup From Scratch
Serves: 6-8 Time: 2 hours plus chilling
Chicken soup made from scratch is one of the most comforting and healing things to make when you’re feeling under the weather. This classic recipe from The New York Times uses a whole chicken with bones and skin left on. The skin adds healthy fats and flavor to the soup, and the bones add powerful healing nutrients.
Make a big batch of this delicious soup to soothe a sore throat, cold or stomach flu.
- 1 chicken, 3 to 3½ pounds, with skin, cut up
- 3 stalks celery, with leaves, cut into chunks
- 2 large carrots, cut into chunks
- 2 yellow onions, peeled and halved
- 1 parsnip or parsley root (optional)
- About 1 dozen large sprigs parsley
- About 1 dozen black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp. kosher salt, more to taste
- 3 tbsp. reserved chicken fat, more if needed
- 3 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, rinsed and sliced crosswise into thin half-moons
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
- Kosher salt and ground black or white pepper
- Egg noodles (fresh or dried), such as packaged wide noodles, spaetzle, fettuccine or pappardelle cut into short lengths (see note)
- Finely chopped herbs, such as parsley, scallions, dill or a combination
- Place the chicken, celery, carrots, onions, parsnip (if using), parsley, peppercorns, bay leaves and salt in a large soup pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately reduce the heat to very low. Adjust the heat until the soup is “smiling”: barely moving on the surface, with an occasional bubble breaking through. Cook uncovered, until the chicken is very tender and falling off the bone, 1 to 1½ hours.
- When cool enough to handle, use tongs to transfer chicken from the pot to a container. Taste the broth and continue to simmer it until it is concentrated and tasty. Strain broth through a fine sieve (or a colander lined with cheesecloth) into a separate container. Discard all the solids from the strainer (or reserve the vegetables, chill and serve with vinaigrette, if you wish).
- Refrigerate chicken pieces and broth separately for at least 8 hours (or up to 3 days), until a thick layer of yellow fat has risen to the top of the broth.
- When ready to finish the soup, use your fingers to separate chicken breast meat from bones and skin. Discard bones and skin. Use two forks to pull the breast meat apart into soft chunks, or use a knife and cut into bite-size pieces. (Reserve dark meat for another use.)
- Skim chicken fat from top of broth and set aside. Place 3 tablespoons of the fat in a soup pot with a lid. Add leeks, stir to coat, and heat over medium heat until leeks begin to fry. Then reduce the heat to a gentle sizzle and cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add carrots, sprinkle with salt, stir, and cover the pot. Cook until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes more. (Keep in mind that vegetables will continue to cook in the soup.) Do not brown.
- Pour broth into pot with vegetables and heat to a simmer. Add noodles and simmer until heated through, soft and plumped with chicken broth. Add the breast meat, then taste broth and add salt and pepper to taste. For best flavor, soup should have some golden droplets of fat on top; if needed, add more chicken fat one teaspoon at a time.
- Serve immediately, in a tureen or from the pot, sprinkling each serving with herbs.