One Hour Chicken Soup for the (Body and) Soul from Cleo Coyle

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Here in New York City, we're keeping a close eye on news about COVID-19 (aka) the coronavirus. No doubt, many of you are too. Confounding the situation is the fact that this is also the season for the common cold and flu. While chicken soup isn't going to solve our serious global health concerns, it is a solution if you're suffering from sore throat and congestion. Why? Because the science is in, and it seems our grandmothers were right...

Studies have shown that properties in chicken soup relieve cold and flu symptoms. Chicken soup not only contains immune boosting properties, it also has cold-fighting compounds that help soothe sore throats and clear nasal congestion. You can read more here, though I already knew homemade chicken soup has healing powers. By the time I slurp down a single bowl of the stuff, I begin feeling relief from a stuffy nose or sore throat. A few years ago, when my husband caught a cold (thanks to me), I felt terribly guilty and was only too happy to bring him a bowl of my chicken soup. I swear, I barely made it back to the kitchen before I heard him crying out from the bedroom:

"This is great! It's helping! It's helping!"

Whether you make this soup for yourself or someone you care about, I sincerely hope it brings you good feelings and good health! ~ Cleo 
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A common method for making chicken soup is to throw the chicken and veggies into the pot and turn up the heat for about 4 hours. 

I prefer my method, which is done in one hour, and is just as healthful. Just be sure to use white meat chicken. Properties in the white meat are especially helpful for cold and flu sufferers; they also have anti-cancer properties, and that's why I specify using 1/2 of a whole split chicken breast. 

Now let's get our soup on!

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Cleo Coyle's 
One Hour Chicken Soup

Makes about 2 quarts (about 6 servings)

2 quarts (8 cups) cold water
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves
1/2 of a whole, split chicken breast, bone in, skin on (see image below)
1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
5 to 6 ribs of celery, chopped (about 2 cups)
4 peeled carrots, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 envelopes of Goya's Sazon without Annatto (or see my note
       below for other options)** 

Finishing salt (such as French Grey or another coarse sea salt)

**Note: This soup will be bland without seasonings. Although Goya Sazon without Annatto is my favorite, you can substitute 2 bouillon cubes combined with a spice blend that includes onion and garlic powders and ground black or white pepper. Certainly, add any other herbs or spices that you enjoy (e.g. cumin, paprika, thyme, rosemary).


Step 1: Pour the cold water into the pot. Throw in the smashed garlic and bay leaves. Bring the water to a brisk boil. Place the chicken into the pot, skin side down. (The meaty part of the breast should be submerged in the water.) 

From ingredient list, this is what you want:
1/2 of a whole, split chicken breast, bone in, skin on.

Boil uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until the meat is tender enough to come off the bone and be shredded with two forks. The water in your pot will boil down during this process. Add in fresh water to replace the water lost, but do not add more water after this step.

Step 2: When the chicken is cooked enough, remove it from the pot. Add the chopped vegetables, and seasoning (Goya Sazon without Annatto or 2 bouillon cubes and your own spice mix), and boil for another 10 minutes. While veggies are cooking, remove the skin from the breast and the meat from the bone and shred the breast meat. 

Step 3: When the carrots are fork-tender (10 minutes of cooking should do it), remove the bay leaves from the pot, and add the shredded chicken. If your split chicken breast was particularly large, hold back a bit of the chicken meat from the soup because you don't want to overload it. Add only enough to keep the ingredients balanced.(*Note: If you'd like to make this a chicken noodle soup, this is the point where you'd add your noodles and cook until they're soft.) Cook the soup for another 6 to 8 minutes. I like to serve the soup with coarse salt on the side. Then salt to taste and...slurp with joy!


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Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

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