Posts Tagged ‘Irish Chicken Soup’

Ginger Hot ToddyOne of my brother-in-laws is visiting from California. God love him, he arrived with the flu and is truly miserable.

As I type, he’s sitting in the family room next to a roaring fire and the telly {so Irish} and is chasing away his chills with a cozy hot water bottle from Avoca  and a big mug of Ginger hot tea. I offered to make him a hot whiskey but he declined saying it’s still a wee bit early…perhaps at bedtime.

Ginger Hot Tea and Irish Hot Whiskey are both part of the “Toddy” family. A toddy is typically a mixed drink made of alcohol, water, sugar and spice. In Ireland, especially, it’s considered a traditional “cure” for colds and the flu.

Much like chicken soup, there’s speculation as to whether a toddy will actually “cure” what ails you, but does it really matter when you’re feeling awful? Not in my book. This hot, amber liquid will warm you to the bone and make you feel better.

Today’s posting is for Ginger Hot Toddy and Irish Hot Whiskey. Enjoy and be well!

Ginger Hot Toddy

Serves 4


3″ piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

1,000ml/4 cups water

2-3 tablespoons honey (preferably Manuka Honey)



1. Bring the water to the boil and pour into a teapot. Add the ginger.

2. Stir in the honey and let steep for 3-5 minutes.

3. Add a squeeze of lemon and stir again. Just before serving, taste and add more honey and/or lemon if desired.

4. To serve, strain the tea through a tea strainer into four cups. Serve immediately.

Notes: This tea keeps well in the fridge for up to three days and can be reheated in a pan on the hob (stove). (I keep the ginger and all the liquid in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.)

Irish Hot Whiskey

Serves 4


16 whole cloves

2 thick slices of lemon, rind left on but pips removed, cut in half

4-8 teaspoons sugar (Demerara is nice, if you have it)

240ml/16 tablespoons Irish whiskey

1/2 half lemon

freshly boiled water


1. Push four cloves into the four lemon rinds and set aside. Fill kettle with water and bring to the boil.

2. In four heatproof glasses, add 1-2 teaspoons sugar, 4 tablespoons Irish whiskey, and the four lemon slices with cloves pushed into them.

3. To ensure the glasses don’t break, put one teaspoon into each glass and, when that’s done, pour the freshly boiled water into each glass to fill.

4. Stir the water, whiskey, and sugar mixture to dissolve the sugar completely.

5. Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice into each glass, taste, and add more sugar and/or whiskey if desired.

6. Serve immediately.

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DSC_0486Isn’t it always the case that when you talk about something not happening it frequently ends up happening?

I should have known better than to end my post on porridge with, “I wish you and your family all the good health that my little family has enjoyed these past few months.” That one line was just too tempting for the powers that be. Less than 24 hours after hitting the “Publish” button, one of the children came home with a cough…which turned into a fever… and then a sore throat…that was diagnosed as a virus… and the next four days were misery for the poor dear.

Immediately, I shifted into nurse-mom mode and initiated a host of health promoting cures: salt-water gargle, humidifier in the bedroom, increase of fluids (including warm lemon water with ginger and honey to soothe a sore throat), nasal irrigation (our G.P. thinks using a Neti-Pot is a great way to keep the nose clear and help reduce post-nasal drip which may cause a sore throat or a cough), and, my very favourite, homemade chicken soup.

Chicken soup?! What a load of hooey…or is it? The benefits of chicken soup were first reported centuries ago, but there’s never been any real proof about its efficacy, until now. University of Nebraska Medical Center physician and researcher Stephen Rennard, put the chicken soup folk remedy to the test by taking it out of the kitchen and into his laboratory. What he discovered has settled the dispute, once and for all.

In his findings, Dr. Rennard proved chicken soup has a number of substances, including an anti-inflammatory mechanism, that helps ease the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.

Though he was not able to identify the exact ingredient or ingredients in the soup that make it effective against fighting colds, Dr. Rennard theorizes it may be a combination of ingredients in the soup that work together to have beneficial effects.

And there you have it…no longer just a wives tale…good old fashioned chicken soup…mother approved and doctor tested. Be well!

Good Old Fashioned Chicken Soup with Orzo

Serves  6 to 8


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 whole chicken, skin left on, cut into pieces including breasts, split in two, wings, drumsticks, thighs, and back

1 large onion, cut into medium dice

4 pints/2 quarts boiling water

2 teaspoons table salt

2 bay leaves

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 1/4”/3cm ginger, sliced

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced

2 medium ribs celery, sliced

1 cup/2oz shredded green cabbage

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

½ cup/100gm orzo (may substitute noodles)

fresh parsley leaves, chopped for garnish

Ground black pepper


1. Heat oil in large soup pot. When oil shimmers and starts to smoke, add chicken and sauté until brown on all sides.

2. Remove chicken and set aside. Add half of chopped onions to pot and sauté until colored and softened slightly, about 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Add chicken pieces, except for the breasts, back to pot, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until chicken is fully cooked and releases its juices, about 20 minutes.

4. Increase heat to high, add boiling water along with the two breast halves, salt, ginger, garlic, and bay leaves and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until chicken breasts are cooked and broth is rich and flavorful, about 20 minutes.

5. Remove chicken breasts from pot and set aside. Strain broth, discarding bones, and set aside.

6. Skim fat from broth, reserving two tablespoons which should be added back to soup pot. Return soup pot to medium-high heat. Add remaining onions, along with carrot, cabbage, and celery and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.

7. Remove skin from cooled chicken and shred the meat into bite sized pieces. Discard skin and bones.

8. Add thyme, strained broth, chicken, and orzo to the soup pot. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.

9. Taste, adjust seasoning, serve with chopped parsley, if desired.

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