Learning To Cook: April’s Virus Killing Soup

When I was in high school, as soon as a show I was in closed, I would get sick. I never feel overly stressed while in the final throws of a show – tech is exciting to me and I sadistically love “Hell Week”. But when you’re in rehearsal for 8 to 10+ hours a night for tech and then spend 12 hours in the theatre on show days, it wears you down. And so, as soon as the adrenalin wears off, I get sick.

[Photo by Terry J Cyr Photography]

Evidently, the same holds true now. My show closed on a Saturday after 13 performances. The following Monday, I started Insanity – day one, Fit Test. I felt totally healthy before working out. Twenty minutes after I was done, I had a tickle in my throat and some congestion in my nose.

In that moment I knew it was time: I was going to make chicken soup from scratch. And not just any chicken soup, but Virus Killing Soup. One of the dance Moms from my home studio makes it for her girls whenever they’re sick and it’s become a bit famous. She got the recipe from someone on a homeschool message board, so she calls it Chloe’s Virus Killing Soup, but to me it will always be April’s Virus Killing Soup.

Ingredients for health:
red pepper, carrots, garlic, local Hutterite chicken, onion, white wine, celery, fennel, leeks, zucchini, tomatoes, salt, pepper, sage, oregano, cayenne pepper
[Also, I’m still so in love with my mixer – look how beautiful she is!]

A beautiful chicken in my new 16 qt soup pot.

The recipe only called for 15-30 cloves of garlic. I think I upped it to almost 40? I can never have enough garlic – and if this is truly going to be virus killing soup, there has to be a LOT of garlic!

Cover with liquid and bring to boil. Simmer until chicken starts to fall apart (for me this took about 2 hours).

Vegetables are the prettiest.

Note to self: remember that if you buy an 8 lb chicken to make stock that you WILL have to remove said 8 lb chicken from hot water. I should really invest in some stainless kitchen tongs. Also, being taller would help – height of stove plus height of soup pot equals chest high on me. I did manage to remove the chicken from the pot (without burning myself!), eventually.

I have no idea how to properly break down a chicken, so I just used my fingers and tore all the meat off the bones.

Add chicken back into soup pot and simmer until chicken is heated through.


Because this recipe makes a LOT of soup, I portioned some out for a weeks worth of eating (nearly filling a 5.5qt soup pot) and also filled two one-gallon size freezer bags for the next time I start to fight a sickness.

April’s Virus Killing Soup

one whole chicken (mine was 8 lb)
approximately 15 – 30 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 Tbsp salt
3 – 4 thyme sprigs (I didn’t have thyme so I used dried sage and oregano)
cayenne pepper (to taste – I just sort of threw some in the pot)
fresh Rosemary sprigs (I used dried)
fresh ground pepper

large onion, coarsely chopped or sliced
fennel bulb, sliced thin
leek, sliced thin
4 – 6 celery stocks, coarsely chopped
large red pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 lb carrots, coarsely chopped
olive oil
1/2 C white wine (remember to use one you’d drink – I asked the wine guy at GFS to suggest one since I don’t drink a lot of white and he said most any Italian white does well in cooking)
frozen green beans (optional)
frozen peas (optional)
1 – 2 cans chopped tomatoes with juice (optional – I was originally going to include them, but then didn’t)
flat leaf parsley, chopped (I forgot to buy some)
salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken and other stock ingredients in a soup pot and cover with water or chicken broth (I used a mix of water and organic chicken broth). Cook on stove top until chicken starts to fall apart (approximately 2 hours). Remove from heat. Strain out chicken and set aside until cool enough to chop. Reserve broth for next step.

Place oil in bottom of large pot and heat. Add onion, fennel, celery, pepper, and leek. Sauté until onion just transparent. Add wine and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Cover the vegetables with chicken stock. Simmer veggies until just tender.

Add zucchini, green beans, peas, and tomatoes (if using) and simmer until everything is tender. Add chopped chicken, salt and pepper to taste.


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