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I knew that I was coming down with something. Something like a cold.

Ah, chicken soup. A sure cure for my cold, if you believe grandmothers. Well, I believe it – what are grandmothers for?

When I’m down with a cold, what I long for is the soup that needs little effort but yields a rich, golden broth that’s strong enough to revive the dead.

So here it is, with a few non-traditional ingredients like soy sauce and pumpkin. I like lots of vegetables in my chicken soup. And lots of chicken. You can make an acceptable broth out of chicken necks and wings, but for that full flavor, give me an entire chicken, every time. You may strain the vegetables out or keep them in as you wish.

Chicken soup for a cold

PrintPrep15 minutes Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1 small chicken, jointed
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 large celery stalks, cleaned and chopped into quarters
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into eighths
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 3 large garlic cloves, rinsed and peeled
  • 1 large tomato, halved
  • 1 leek, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 large slice of pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf

Optional (for flu control)

  • 2 peppercorns
  • Dried mushrooms
  • Handful of nettles


  • Pour the oil into your soup pot. It’s only there to keep things from burning initially. Set the heat to medium.
  • Brown the chicken in the oil, stirring it once in a while to distribute the pieces evenly. This should take about 10 minutes.
  • Add all the other ingredients. Stir and cover. Allow everything to cook another 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables wilt.
  • Pour water in, up to 2 inches over the chicken and vegetables. Cover.
  • Bring to a boil, lower the heat to minimum, and let the soup simmer for at least an hour, if not 2 or 3.
  • If you have a slow cooker, you can skip all the above and simply put all the ingredients in it the night before. Turn the switch to low and walk away. By the next morning, you’ll have wonderful chicken soup. That’s what I did this time.

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