As the seasons shift, our bodies attempt to adjust to new pollen levels and changes in temperature, but not all of us city kids have immune systems that are prepared for the transition. Exterior factors like alcohol abuse, recreational drug use, making out with that guy at that bar and taking sips from unidentified beers at parties may contribute to a spring fever, congestion and sniffles. Now, I’m not a doctor, but my own personal experience with such symptoms has initiated experimentation with varying recipes for chicken soup. A handful of them have been published here in The L over the past few years, making this issue’s recipe part of a chicken soup series. These include: Cuban chicken soup, tortilla soup and a classic chicken noodle soup. It’s said that good health is a result of proper diet, so while some folks choose to remedy their illness with painkillers and sleeping pills, I feel that nursing the throat and stomach with warm, flavorful broth brings greater relief than numbing the senses with slow-release drugs. Plus, enough jalapeños will put the pain elsewhere, making your head cold a thing of the past. In addition to the comfort a bowl of warm chicken soup brings to a sick body, the recipe below uses ginger root, which is said to have its own medicinal qualities. If you’ve got an appetite, add one cup of cooked basmati to this soup for a more substantial meal.
Chicken Soup with Shrimp and Cilantro
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
A splash of fish sauce
3 bunches bok choy, roots removed
4 cups chicken stock
1 rotisserie chicken, pulled with skin removed
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
1 small bunch cilantro, cleaned with leaves
picked from stems
1 jalapeño, sliced in thin rounds
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
In a large stockpot, heat the canola oil over medium. Add the minced garlic and ginger. Sauté for one to two minutes. Add the fish sauce and reduce to dry. Add the bok choy and sauté until wilted. Next, pour in the chicken stock and add the chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook for fifteen minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until shrimp are done, two to three minutes. Ladle into four bowls and garnish with cilantro and jalapeños.