Moms and Chicken Noodle Soup

When you’re feeling ill, don’t your thoughts immediately flash back to a time when Mom nurtured you back to health? She might bring you chicken noodle soup and saltines in bed and read to you. Maybe she would teach you to play solitaire or you’d watch the daytime soaps together. Sometimes you just needed a little rest and TLC to get back to normal. But when you were really sick, chicken noodle soup was definitely the ticket to bringing you ship-shape again.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Mashed Potatoes

Chicken Noodle Soup with Mashed Potatoes

Because my mother is from Taiwan, it should be no surprise to learn that our version of the remedy was chicken flavored ramen noodles. Sure, we had Campbell’s chicken noodle soup once we moved stateside when I was 11. But the family staple was ramen and I brought that to my own house once I married and raised a family. Just this past week my son lamented (via text message, of course) that being sick without mom present to serve ramen noodles and bring him gatorade was rough. It’s nice to be missed.

For when someone you know or love is very ill, Dr. Ruth (that would be me) recommends straight up bone broth. Bone broth is all the rage in the food biz; Brodo is NYC’s broth only shop and in Portland, it’s the Broth Bar. You can purchase steaming cups of broth in coffee cups for your own “wellness to go.” Truth be told, bone broth is very easy to make. Here’s my go-to recipe for you to make at home.

Ruth’s Cure-all Chicken Broth

 2 whole chickens, rinsed, gizzards removed

2 large yellow onions, peeled and quartered

4 large carrots, washed and roughly chopped

4 large celery stalks, washed and roughly chopped

4 fresh thyme sprigs

1 fresh bay leaf

8 quarts water

1-2 tablespoons kosher salt, optional

1. In a very large stockpot (if possible, one with a pasta insert), combine whole chickens, onions, carrots, celery, thyme, and bay leaf. Add the water and place the pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the liquid simmers gently, and cook for 2 hours. Skim the foam from the top as it forms and discard.

2. Remove all solids by lifting out the pasta insert and discard. If not using a pasta insert,  strain over a second large stockpot. Let broth cool, then refrigerate. After the liquid is cold, skim fat off the top and and strain again. Divide into quart bags and freeze for later use or use immediately.

So make your own pot of healing broth today; it will make anyone feel right as rain. And if you don’t have the time, there’s always ramen noodles. :)