The original recipe given for this is the lazy version and it simply can not compare in taste and nutrition to a more traditional way. First things first, you’ll want to make your own chicken broth, aka, a bone broth. See this month’s article and you’ll know how amazingly nutritious this dish will be. Paraphrased from Sally Fallon and Mary Enig’s much-lauded book Nourishing Traditions, here is how you can make your own chicken bone broth:

1 whole pastured chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbone, and wings
(if you can’t find a pastured chicken at your local natural foods grocer, check farmers markets, or find out if there’s a local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter you can join)
4 quarts cold filtered water
2 tablespoons vinegar (I use coconut vinegar, but you can use white or cider vinegar)
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

Break down the chicken and cut the chicken parts into several pieces. Place the chicken into a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar, and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour ( so the vinegar draw the nutrients out). Bring to a boil, and remove the white scum that rises to the top (generally, this scum contains impurities. This is a traditional method used when making broths). Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 6 to 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.

Now on to the soup itself!

You will want to have some asian noodles (I prefer Koyo round udon), a bunch of cilantro, fresh bunched spinach, and 6 inches or more of ginger (the original recipe calls for an inch, and even after using 6 inches, I still can’t taste the ginger in the soup. Experiment and let me know what you find). Add the cilantro and ginger to the stock and cook it with the rest of the vegetables.

Backtracking a bit now.. When you break down the chicken, cut off as much meat as you can. In addition to the drumsticks, wings, and breasts, there is also a part called the oysters which you will notice just past the drumstick and thigh; cut that small chunk out as well. Having made his dish dozens of times now, I have found some things out through trial and error. Firstly, you can save the breasts in a ziplock bag and put them in your fridge and freezer for another meal. I strongly suggest stripping the meat and skin off the bones of the drumsticks, oysters, and maybe the wings too (I find it to be too much of a pain to bother, so I just throw them into the pot with the rest of the items ).

If you aren’t totally grossed out by it, cut the bones in half, or in a few pieces (likewise, add in a head or feet if you’re brave enough; they’re filled with gelatin). The gelatin inside the bones is very important and very nutrient rich! Now, throw the bones and skin into the pot with the rest of the soaking ingredients. You don’t have to do all this, but in my experience, it’s a major pain to sift through the chicken later and take out very tiny bones and trying to find said tiny bones amongst the rest of the meat. If you’ve ever cooked a whole chicken in a crock pot, you will know what I am talking about. Likewise, the chicken will be tough if you cook it for 24 hours.

Let’s finish this fantastic dish! After the stock is done cooking, take out as much as you can of the chicken bits, bones, and veggies with a slotted spoon; if you have a garden, don’t throw this stuff out, use it for compost!! You will likely have to pour the stock through a strainer to get rid of what’s left. If you don’t have another pot to pour it into, then you can pour it into two or three large bowls.  For the chicken, you can either fry or roast the separate pieces or throw the pieces you want into some of the stock for 20 minutes or less.

Before the chicken pieces are done cooking, cook your noodles and prepare the spinach. If you don’t have two pots to cook the spinach and noodles at the same time, then cook the noodles first, distribute them evenly between two large bowls, and then cook the spinach (the broth will heat up the noodles if they get too cool). If you’ve never cooked whole leaf spinach that’s still attached to the root, simply cut the spinach maybe 3 inches from the bottom and then place it in boiling water. Submerge the spinach in the boiling water and let it sit in there for just a few minutes until all the leaves look slightly cooked and then strain and place it into the soup.

Finally, place the chicken pieces into the bowl and pour the hot soup stock over the noodles. I suggest topping this with a generous pat of pastured butter (the extra fat will help make this more filling and in general butter is incredibly nutrient dense) and some nama-shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce) to taste.  The original recipe calls for mushrooms, but I omit them since I find them to be revolting. If you’re a mushroom hater or just want to try something different, you can add in watercress or sprouts next to the spinach and chicken.

This should yield enough broth for 2 large bowls and a little extra if you’re lucky.

This soup is incredibly delicious, highly nutritious, and once you’re used to making it, you will want to make it all the time (this has become a weekly staple in my home, and I just love the aroma of the broth cooking). This dish is an absolute must try!

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