How to Cook the Ultimate Jewish Chicken Soup (with Bok Choy)

February 19, 2020

There’s no substitute for homemade chicken soup at any time but particularly when sick.

This is the soup I make when I’m under the weather. It’s incredibly curative. But as always, flavor first. Even when my nose is stuffy and my taste buds are compromised, I still know a good soup from a mediocre one. And this is delicious. 

When I need extra decongesting, I add a touch more ginger and garlic, both of which have natural antibiotic and antiviral properties. The bok choy is high in calcium, which will calm nerves and help induce sleep, but I use it because it adds a soothing, almost “milky” taste, if that’s possible from a vegetable. 

I cook the bok choy only minimally because I like it when it still has a little crunch to it. The cilantro leaves at the end add not only a vibrant green color and a great taste, but the chlorophyll helps to build blood cells, which is useful when you’re down and out.

Precise measurements are not needed. Eyeball it.

Bok Choy Chicken Soup a.k.a Sick Soup

8-12 cups chicken broth
1 boneless breast of chicken, uncooked
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
Salt, to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled, left whole
8 heads baby bok choy, sliced horizontally in 1/2-inch strips
2 inches fresh ginger root, unpeeled
Fresh cilantro leaves, to taste

Bring chicken broth to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Add chicken breast to broth, cover pot, and cook until just cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Turn off heat. Remove chicken and, when cooled, shred with fingers. Return to broth. (If certain people don’t want meat, add shredded chicken only to bowls of people who want it.)

Coat bottom of medium pot with olive oil and place over medium heat.

Sauté onions and chopped garlic.

When translucent, add broth and bring to a boil.

Test for saltiness and adjust to taste.

Using a microplane, grate garlic cloves and ginger to taste in each serving bowl. (I add a little nugget of each, about the size of a pinky to middle fingernail.)

Add bok choy to soup pot and boil for a few minutes until just cooked but still bright green.

Top generously with fresh cilantro leaves.

Serves 8.

Elana Horwich is the author of “Meal and a Spiel: How to Be a Badass in the Kitchen” and the founder of the Meal and a Spiel cooking school.

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