Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hangover Helper: Chicken Soup With Rice

Hoogrrl hosted a great night of art discussion, wine, and conversation Saturday. Unfortunately, I forgot to eat, and had more wine and conversation than alcohol-absorbing nutriment. On Sunday I found myself sitting extra still on my couch, blinds drawn, sunglasses on. I felt...how should I say it...awful. My head was pounding and my stomach felt like it had been assaulted, like someone had reached down into it, turned it inside out and then punched it a couple times to ensure the emptying of its entire contents (sorry for the graphic imagery). And I knew my mother (whom I visit on Sundays) would want to try to feed me shovels-full of food, the thought of which made me feel even worse.

Long story short, I got to her house. Couldn't swallow anything. So she made me chicken soup with rice--some sort of old wives tale home remedy that actually works. There's something medicinal about the hydrating broth, strength-replenishing protein, and stomach-soothing rice. Read here about how scientists confirm that chicken soup is indeed medicine. It has something to do with the power of the soup to stop the movement of neutrophils (white bloodcells that are released in great numbers when you're ill), and its quieting anti-inflammatory qualities.

Adding garlic, herbs, and other acoutriments will also help boost the medicinal threshold as well as elevate the stuff from bland nursery food to a more interesting and adult Asian soup (because you have to eat well even when you're sick, right?). See recipe below:


1 (2-lb) rotisserie chicken

2 cloves garlic

1 medium onion, quartered and left unpeeled

6 fresh cilantro sprigs

plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 small bunch green onion, chopped

10 cups rice

Remove meat from chicken, reserving skin and bones. Coarsely chop garlic and put in a 6- to 8-quart pot along with chicken bones and skin, onion, cilantro sprigs, and chicken broth. Simmer, partially covered, 1 hour.
While broth is simmering, shred about half of chicken meat into 1-inch-long pieces (about 1/4 inch thick) to yield 1 1/2 cups meat, reserving remaining meat for another use. Pour chicken broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing hard on solids with back of a ladle and then discarding them. Skim fat from surface of broth.
Return strained broth to pot, then add rice and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until rice is very soft, about 30 minutes. Stir in shredded chicken and chopped cilantro.

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