It is so tempting to call this a “Miracle Soup” or a “Curative Soup” – because that is precisely what it is.
When the winter snows or rains come and the inevitable stuffed-sinuses-running-nose-achy-body symptoms arise, this soup will shake the cold right out of you. Even if you’ve been suffering for a couple of days already – as I recently was – a bowl or two of this will give it a one-two, and the next morning you’ll be breathing much easier.
Vegetarians can fix this without the poultry and have fantastic results as well. However, several scientific studies have shown that chicken soup has a better effect on clearing your upper respiratory tract than other hot liquids.
Once an Ecuadorian friend asked me, “But isn’t it spicy,” when I told her how much garlic and ginger is in it. No, it isn’t. Even the delicate Ecuadorian palate will find the blend of spices to be pleasantly understated. And it is precisely those spices, I am convinced, that packs a bowl of this soup with such curative properties.
Estimated cooking time: 30 – 40 minutes
For: Vegetarians or Carnivores
1 pound of chicken – optional
3 tablespoons of butter or oil
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
4 potatoes, cut into small chunks
1 large onion, cut into chunks
3 – 4 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
1-inch (2.5 cm) length of fresh ginger root, finely minced
3 stalks of Swiss chard (acelgas), cut into ribbons
2 or 3 tomatoes, cut into chunks
2 teaspoons of salt
In a hot, 4-liter pot, melt the butter (or heat the oil).
Add the chicken and lightly brown on each side. Take out and reserve.
Add the carrots and sauté until they are becoming soft. Add the potatoes and continue sautéing until slightly soft, then add the onion. Continue sautéing. Add the garlic and ginger, then the Swiss chard, tomatoes, chicken (if using) and salt. Add enough water to fill the pot to within an inch (2.5 cm) of the top.
Turn the fire low and let the soup simmer until the vegetables are fork-soft.
Serve hot with bread.
- Chicken back with wings (espaldilla con alitas), cut into pieces, works quite fine. If you are on a tight budget, go for menudencias (a mixed bag of liver, heart, gizzards, neck … and chicken feet).
- The carrots may be replaced with a winter squash (calabaza, zapallo, uyama).
- The Swiss chard may be replaced with another green vegetable, like peas (chícharo, guisantes, arvejas), green beans (ejotes, vainitas, chauchas) kale (col rizada) or bok choy (col china).
- Instead of potatoes, you may use one cup another starch like rice or pasta. (Add the rice with the last ingredients. Add the pasta in the last 10 minutes of cooking)
- Remember: The smaller the carrots and potatoes are cut, the faster the soup will cook!