Take a deep breathe in through your nose. Ahhh, feels good right? You’re probably doing that more than 20,000 times a day and you’re not even thinking about it! That is, until you catch a cold and your nose goes on strike. Now you’re breathing through your mouth, going through boxes and boxes of tissues and everything you eat tastes like cotton wool.
When this happens in our house, it’s time for “Get Well Chicken Soup” also known as “Chicken Tortellini Soup”. The get-well element comes from the generous amount of garlic which is known to stimulate the immune system. Officially the garlic should be raw to be more effective so if you’re feeling brave you could add some additional minced raw garlic just before serving. And then just don’t kiss anyone that hasn’t eaten the soup with you!
I got the recipe for this from my good friend Judy who would make this when her kids had a cold. It’s ridiculously easy and you can have it on the table in about 20 minutes. I’ll list the ingredients but it’s also one of those “throw in what you like” kind of soups. In terms of chopping – it’s your soup so decide if you want chunky vegetables or finely diced.
This is the quick and easy version with store-bought stock and a rotisserie chicken but if I’ve roasted a chicken for dinner I’ll make stock from the bones and use any leftover meat, it’s a lot tastier! You start by softening onion, celery and carrots in a little butter. Add as much garlic as you can bear and cook for a little longer.
Throw in the carton of chicken broth. Add the can of diced tomatoes. Add the shredded chicken meat. Cook for 5-10 minutes and then season to taste. As a cold can also dull your tastebuds I’ll also add a hefty shake of red pepper flakes but you don’t have to.
If you’re using frozen spinach, cook it according to the package instructions, drain off excess water and add it to the soup. If you’re using fresh spinach you can just add a small handful to the soup bowls and ladle in the hot soup over the top to wilt it.
Cook the tortellini according to the directions on the package (I prefer to cook it in a separate pan so the soup doesn’t get too starchy but you don’t have to). Fresh tortellini can disintegrate as it’s kind of delicate so dried works better. You can use cheese or spinach or whatever your favorite tortellini is! Serve in a warmed soup bowl with a hunk of crusty bread or even a little grated parmesan on top.
Get Well Chicken Soup
1 rotisserie chicken (skin removed and meat shredded)
5-10 carrots, chopped
1 onion, sliced
4 sticks of celery, chopped
4-8 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely sliced
1 carton of low-sodium chicken broth (or your own stock)
1 package of frozen spinach (or a bag of fresh baby spinach)
1 can of diced tomatoes (~14oz)
1 package of dried tortellini pasta, I like Barilla
A little oil or spoon of butter
Optional – red pepper flakes
1. In a large pan, melt the butter over a medium hear and cook for diced onion, carrot and celery for ~10 minutes until softened. Put on a separate pan of water to boil for tortellini.
2. Add the crushed/minced garlic and cook for another minute.
3. Pour in the carton of unsalted chicken stock. Add the can of diced tomatoes.
4. If using frozen spinach, cook according to package directions. If using fresh baby spinach you’ll just add it to the bottom of the soup bowls later.
5. Cook the dried tortellini according to the package directions (cooking it separately prevents the soup becoming too starchy).
6. Warm bowls in a low oven. Add a handful of fresh baby spinach, a big spoon or two of cooked tortellini and then ladle in the soup making sure each bowl has broth, chicken and vegetables.
To serve: Top with a little grated cheese (optional) and serve with warm crusty bread.