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Cold-Kicker Spicy Chicken Soup


  • 1/4 c. butter or coconut oil, for a dairy free version
  • 1 chicken cut up
  • 4 chopped cloves garlic
  • 2 crushed cloves garlic
  • 2 medium onions
  • 6-8 carrots sliced
  • 3 ribs celery sliced
  • 16 cups chicken stock preferably homemade
  • ½ c fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tb. fresh grated lemon peel
  • 3/8 t cinnamon
  • 4 Tb. fresh grated ginger root
  • 2 t cayenne pepper flakes omit or reduce amount if serving this to children - it does come out spicy!
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ to ½ cup basil fresh or frozen—see below on how to do this
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cooked rice


  1. Heat a small amount of butter (or coconut oil for a dairy free version) in the bottom of your stock pot and then add the onions, celery and carrots and cook for just a few minutes to start them cooking. You can also brown the chicken at this point, if you like (I don’t usually, but it does enhance the flavor of the chicken).
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pot EXCEPT the basil and the cooked rice.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the chicken and veggies are tender.
  4. Remove the chicken, cool it a bit so you don’t burn your fingers and remove the meat from the bones. Return the meat to the pot.
  5. When everything is tender, add the basil and then taste for salt and add if needed. (or if it’s one of those kind of days…just throw everything into the pot and cook it until tender, it is still fabulous).
  6. To serve place some cooked rice in the bottom of your soup bowl and then ladle in the soup. If you add the cooked rice to the soup I think it soaks up way too much of the liquid, so I always make and serve the rice separately.
  7. (side note: This recipe calls for fresh basil (dried just doesn't do it), which is a fine thing for September, but not so fine in January. Have you seen the prices on those little boxes of fresh herbs!!?? So right now, before it frosts go out and strip your basil plants of every leaf you can find. Give them a quick rinse in the sink and then with just the tiny bit of water that clings to them, whirl them in your food processor. You don’t want a puree, just chopped. I measure mine in ½ cup portions into freezer bags. I store my individual freezer bags in a large bag to keep them all together in the freezer and to keep my ice from tasting like basil. Then in January, when you need to make this recipe, there’s the basil. Or if you want fresh pesto, start with about 1 cup frozen chopped and follow your favorite recipe (mine has 1/3 cup olive oil, ½ c walnuts, 3 cloves garlic, ½ cup parmesan cheese and ½ t salt). Oh, and be prepared when you open this bag of frozen basil for the intoxicating smell of basil and summer to float up to your nose!)