Healing Rainbow Soup (Season of Self-Care: 9)

There is no cold or flu required in order to justify a steaming bowl of Healing Rainbow Soup. I’m pretty sure this will keep all that junk away, anyway, so I make it almost every time I have fresh bone broth around. In fact, it doesn’t even need to be cold, you know, like a typical December day in New England should be, in order to enjoy the warm, snuggly, superhero healing love (although, I admit it has not cured me of my weirded-out-ness in regards to this bizarro end times weather we’re experiencing). It just makes me feel like I’m giving myself a hug, like one of those 20-second oxytocin-releasing hugs. That’s some self-care right there.

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If you aren’t familiar with the term “bone broth,” it’s basically chicken stock that is simmered for a longer period of time (up to 24+ hours), drawing the minerals out of the bones and providing a nutrient-dense liquid you can enjoy on it’s own or as base for damn near everything. I’ll give you the quick and dirty method for that below. But first…

Healing Rainbow Soup

Keep in mind that Healing Rainbow Soup can and should vary seasonally, regionally, and according to the flavors you like, so feel free to play around with the veggies and herbs.

In a generous chunk of butter and a splash of olive oil, saute:

one medium or large onion, halved and sliced
several carrots, sliced (if they are young, I don’t peel them…you be the judge)
a few ribs of celery
salt and pepper

After a few minutes, add:

one head of garlic (yes, a whole head), smashed and minced
a 2-inch hunk of fresh ginger, grated

Stir for a minute or two, and then add:

1 can of coconut milk
1 quart of bone broth
2 bay leaves
thyme and oregano
red pepper flakes

Bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes.

You can stop here for the most basic version of this soup. At this point, I like to add thinly sliced cabbage or leafy greens, and either diced potatoes or rice noodles. If I have leftover chicken meat from pre-broth roasting, I’ll add that in, too. If I have them, shiitake mushrooms will find their way into the initial saute. I’ve also been known to do a little egg drop action, and to almost always top with a drizzle of fish sauce for umami goodness. Green onions and miso are nice, too. Seriously, play with this. As long as you’ve got that coconut + broth + ginger + garlic thing going on with the soup base, you’re in for some warming, tasty times no matter what solids you put into it.

Basic Bone Broth

Bones of any variety will do. I’ve made bone broth from chicken, turkey, duck, goose, beef, pork, lamb, and goat. Generally, I’ve already roasted the meat. If you’ve got your mitts on some straight-up soup bones, you’ll want to also roast those before making broth. It really enhances the flavor. Since it will cook for quite a while, I like to use my crock pot. You can also make your broth on the stovetop, but be sure you’re around to keep an eye on things.

What you’ll need:

Bones! Roasted (a whole chicken carcass, beef neck bones, leg of lamb…whatever you’ve got)
one large onion
two carrots
two celery stalks
a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar
optional: garlic, culinary herbs, medicinal herbs

Throw the bones, roughly chopped veggies, and splash of vinegar into your crock pot, dutch oven, or stock pot, and cover with water. Slowly bring to a boil. At this point you can toss in some herbs and/or garlic…or not. You’ll have a rich broth without any additions, but I can’t leave well enough alone.

After 24-ish hours, strain through a fine-mesh strainer. I like to store my broth in mason jars in the fridge for up to one week. Whatever I don’t think I’ll use in that time goes into ice cube trays in the freezer, and then into storage bags for up to six months. Honestly, we go through this stuff pretty rapidly, and I rarely need to think about long term storage.

You can drink it warmed, straight-up with some salt and pepper for a pick-me-up, use for soups and stews, braising meat and veggies, or cooking grains like rice.

Yet another way to get you warmed up from the inside-out this winter…enjoy!

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