Winter Chicken Soup
140 Min

Winter Chicken Soup

The weather this winter has yoyo-ed from shirt sleeve balmy to cold enough to require winter jackets. This environmental unbalance can cause unbalances in our respiratory system resulting in mild sniffles to a more serious cold or flu like illness. At times like this, there’s nothing quite like an aromatic nourishing bowl of chicken soup to soothe the blues. One of my walking buddies was recently down for almost a week with a cold that left her throat in a lot of pain and here is a chicken soup, deeply infused with crushed black pepper and cloves, I made for her.

Crushing spices helps incorporate their flavor into the broth and black pepper and cloves have been a home remedy for sore throats for millennia in India. Dairy can often make congestion worse, so I used coconut milk instead – it’s also easier to digest. The soup has more vegetables than chicken, which makes it even more nourishing. Make sure to use chicken on the bone for best results.  

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Cook Time

140 minutes + resting time



Step 1
Lightly crush the peppercorns and cloves. Grate or smash the ginger in a mortar and pestle. In a large stockpot, combine the chicken with the black peppercorns, cloves, ginger, turmeric and 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Turn the heat off and let the broth rest for an hour or two or even overnight.
Step 2
Strain the broth, discard the spices, pull the meat out of the chicken legs, and set aside.
Step 3
Return the chicken stock to the stockpot and add the coconut milk, tomato puree and salt.
Step 4
Next add the vegetables, cover, and simmer for another 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and cooked through. If the soup gets too thick, add a bit of water.
Step 5
Just before you are ready to serve the soup, gently add the pulled chicken meat, greens, and herbs. Serve with lime juice.

2 whole skinless bone-in chicken legs (2 thighs and drumsticks each)

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon whole cloves

2-inch ginger piece

1 teaspoon dried turmeric

1 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup tomato puree

2 teaspoon sea salt

4 cups of vegetables cut into 1-inch pieces (carrots, potatoes, turnips, celery or squashes)

2 cups of greens (cabbage, spinach, kale, or mustard greens)

1/2 cup cilantro leaves and stems

Juice from 2 to 3 limes

Notes & Variations

  • To crush the spices, use a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin.
  • For a vegetarian version, use chopped mushrooms instead of chicken and if using red meat, use meat on the bone.
140 Min

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