If any meal represented ‘motherhood’ to me, it would be soup. It is nourishing, warming, comforting, and comes in a thousand different flavours, colours and textures. Soup is what mothers have been making for centuries whenever bellies are hungry, the larder is bare and the purse is empty. Somehow, out of the little that has been placed in her hands, a mother is able to create a hearty meal that unites the family, warms hearts and strengthens bodies. Soup is the meal that is lovingly simmered up for us when we are sick, when someone new moves into our community, or when a baby is born (the perfect meal that can be eaten one handed!). You can’t make soup without love, the very act of dicing, stirring and simmering is in itself an act of love. No two soups made by a mother are ever the same, just as no two days are the same. Some days a mother is hearty, full of warmth and flavour, bubbling over with joy, and other days she is watered down by stress, fatigue, and the burdens of her family. But even on her weariest days, the offering of the mother: the love, sacrifice, time and soup, are what keeps the world ticking over. None of us would be where we are today, if it wasn’t for our mother and her pot of soup bubbling on the stove.
This is the soup I have been having on almost a daily basis this winter, and as odd as it sounds, I’m not sick of it yet. Lunch time tends to be a low point of the day for me energy wise, and it is the meal that I am most likely to neglect and end up going with something because it’s easy and convenient, but lacks what I need to get my myself through the rest of the day. I make a batch of this soup every second weekend, which makes approx. 10 serves. I usually have it with some shredded chicken or grilled salmon as a protein boost.
This soup has been designed for maximum goodness and minimum fuss. I love being able to nourish my body in one meal, giving it the nutrients it needs to keep my energy levels stable and my immunity strong.
Bone broth – Bone broth is achieved by slowly simmering cooked animal bones for 12-24 hours, releasing compounds such as collagen, glycine and glutamine, which help promote healthy digestion and more effective absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Leafy greens – Leafy greens are a powerhouse of fibre, folate, Vitamin C, magnesium and a plethora of other vitamins and minerals as well as acting as an antioxidant in the body, helping to remove free radicals. Although all vegetables are great sources of essential vitamins and minerals, leafy greens have highly concentrated amounts for their volume compared with their garden bed fellows.
Garlic – Used medicinally since ancient times, garlic is an immunity boosting elixir that you should be eating more of this winter. One study I found particularly interesting indicated that garlic can also help reduce stress and fatigue symptoms.
1 litre bone broth
1 Large brown onion, diced
2 -3 large carrots, diced
Half a celery, diced
2-3 lunches of leafy greens (kale, silver beet, English spinach, Asian greens)
Bunch of parsley
Optional – adding 2 cups of frozen peas will add sweetness if you struggle with pure greens
- To make your own bone broth, cook 1kg of chicken pieces, and removing the meat from the bones, place the bones, skin and the crispy golden bits into a slow cooker with 2 tbs apple cider vinegar and cover with water. Simmer on low for 12-18 hours. Remove the bones and strain through a fine sieve. Once cooled, skim the fat off the top.
- To make the soup, sauté the diced onion, carrots, celery and garlic until tender and sweet. This is the time to clean our the crisper in your fridge and add anything that needs to be used up. Zucchini, broccoli stalks, even the woody kale stalks can diced finely and thrown in at this stage.
- Add broth and enough water to cover the vegetables and simmer on a low heat until all the vegetables are soft.
- Add the shredded greens, parsley (and peas if you are using them) and bring the soup back to the boil. You will need to keep pushing the greens around so they will cook evenly. Greens cook very quickly, so you will only need to simmer them for 3-5 minutes.
- Once cooled, blend the soup with a stick blender, or in batches in a blender. I like to serve my soup with 100g of the leftover chicken meat from making the bone broth. Enjoy!
Next week, we are feasting and celebrating our little boy’s fifth birthday!