Nothing soothes and warms like a homemade chicken soup. This soup is especially warm, delicious and comforting, especially on a chilly day. You don’t have to be sick to appreciate its healing qualities, but it certainly will warm your soul and your body if you are.
Avgolemono–it’s a mouthful! (avgo means ‘egg’; lemono means ‘lemon’) soup is a dish that Greek mothers make to keep their families healthy. And this soup is full of antioxidants and other powerful nutrition to fend off colds and flu.
Why is chicken soup so soothing and healing? Scientists have actually studied it to find out! A Dr. Stephen Rennard, who is an MD from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, tested chicken soup to see if it helps the immune system.
It was found that the chicken soup had strong anti-inflammatory powers, which is why it helps with stuffy noses, sore throats and coughs. The soup actually helps to break up congestion and eases the flow of nasal secretions. And chicken soup is also loaded with valuable nutrients that strengthen the immune system too.
Chicken also contains an amino acid called cysteine that is released when you make the soup. This amino acid is similar to the drug acetylcysteine, which is prescribed by doctors to patients with bronchitis. It thins the mucus in the lungs, making it easier to cough out.
Carrots, a regular ingredient found in chicken soup, is a great source of beta-carotene. The body uses beta-carotene to converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A helps prevent and fight off infections by enhancing the actions of white blood cells that destroy harmful bacteria and viruses.
Beyond the soup’s soothing qualities and easy to digest protein, this soup contains mint and oregano, which both contain rosmarinic acid, which helps to open up the bronchial tubes and lungs, and ease respiratory problems. The lemon juice provides vitamin C, and the leeks, garlic and onion deliver antioxidants that are potent cold and flu fighting immune benefits.
And—if you use chicken bone broth it has its own set of benefits as well. Bone broth also strengthens the immune system, soothes the digestive system, fights inflammation, helps with weight loss, adds electrolytes, is good for your hair and nails, is anti-aging and great for your joints.
This soup tastes every bit as good the next day, but if reheating, be sure to heat over low heat to prevent the eggs from curdling.
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
2 medium leeks, white parts only, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
5-6 cups organic free-range chicken bone broth
½ cup quinoa or brown rice (in stead of the traditional orzo pasta)
2 large organic, free range eggs
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
In a saucepan, add leeks, onion and carrots along with a pinch of sea salt to olive oil. Cook, over medium heat, stirring gently for about 6-7 minutes.
Stir in chicken and broth, add enough salt and pepper to taste. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add rice and cook until tender. Remove from heat.
In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and lemon juice. Add 3 ladles of soup broth to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Mix egg mixture back into soup and cook over low heat for another 2-3 minutes. Do not allow it to boil. Garnish with parsley, mint and fresh oregano and lemon wedges. Serves 4-6.