Grandmother’s Healing Winter Soup

This month seems to be pretty weather-ful, even in Southern California! So I thought I would share my healing winter soup recipe. Now, some of you probably have similar, fantastic recipes from your grandmothers. This post is not for you. You grandmother’s soup probably works best with your DNA. This post if for people who didn’t have kitchen witch / Jewish / Italian / Southern grandmothers. Also, this is not for vegetarians. I have no idea what to tell you if you’re vegetarian; maybe suck on an elderberry lozenge or something.

One whole chicken (check to see if there is a bag of gizzards in the chest cavity, and remove it if there is)

One large head (not clove, the whole thing) of garlic

A piece of garlic root about the size/mass of two of your fingers

Fresh basil, if you can get it

Fresh mint, if you can get it

Two juicy limes

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

If you tolerate spicy, some small red peppers



A large yellow onion

A handful of yellow, red, or purple potatoes, depending on availability and preference

A turnip, or whatever other root vegetables seem to be available

Some fresh beets, preferably with the stalks still attached

Half a head of white/green cabbage

Fresh miso paste (I’d go with yellow, but you do you, Boo)

Take anything that’s not the chicken (string, etc) off the chicken, and put it in a large stock pot. DO NOT USE YOUR INSTAPOT. The slow cooking method, complete with paying attention, it vital to this recipe.

If your chicken came with its gizzards, congratulations, you have a good grocery store! Taken them out of the bag and toss them in the stockpot as well. Yes, even the neck. If you had chicken feet, I would tell you to throw them in too, but if you had chicken feet, you wouldn’t need this post.

Break apart your head of garlic, roll each clove between your palms to remove the skin, and toss them in the pot.

Peel your onion and cut it into chunks, and add that to the pot.

Chop your carrots and celery and toss them in.

Cut your potatoes and turnip (or whatever) into chunks and toss those in. If you can leave the skins on the potatoes, it’s better.

Slice the ginger, fairly thick, and toss that in.

Cut the tops off the beets and put the tops in the pot. Set aside the rest of the beet.

Toss about 1/3 of your herbs in

If you opted for spicy, slice your peppers, remove the seeds unless you’re one of those crazy people who REALLY like spicy, and toss about 1/2 of them in the pot.

Add water to cover.

Bring to a boil, stir, reduce the heat somewhat, so it’s just simmering, and let it cook for about 45-90 minutes, or until the chicken comes easily off the bone. Yes, you’ll have to fidget with your soup.

Witch tip: whenever stirring a healing soup, try your best to stir clockwise.

Strain the liquid, keep both.

Go through the parts and get the bones and skin out. Get the chicken meat into bite sized pieces. You can also pull the beet tops.

Put the liquid and veggies back in the pot.

Chop the rest of your herbs, put them in.

Chop the beets into large-ish chunks (big bites?) and add them.

* This is a place holder in the narrative. Yes, my recipe has foreshadowing.

Chop the cabbage, add to pot.

Salt & pepper to taste. Yes, you should be tasting it.


Simmer until the cabbage is soft.

Add the chicken back in, and the rest of your peppers, and get those heated up.

When you’re ready to serve it, put a spoonful of miso paste in your bowl with a splash of the broth and whisk it together with a fork until the paste isn’t really pasty. Ladle soup in to bowl, stir, squeeze a little line in there, and eat it up.

If you are going to freeze the soup, you’ll like it better with hasn’t-been-frozen chicken, so make chicken salad out of that chicken, freeze the veggies and broth at the phase where I put the placeholder, and add some freshly cooked chicken (may I recommend the thighs?) etc when you’re ready to eat the thawed broth.

You could probably eat this when you’re not sick too… Just sayin’…

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