Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mikl's Miracle Flu Fighter Stew

It is that time again! There is an upper respiratory virus going around that is kicking butt and taking names! However we do have a defense. This dish has been engineered to be medicinal as well as have an excellent taste.

For thousands of years a steaming bowl of chicken soup has proven valuable for freeing the sinuses and fighting the grip we refer to as “flu”. This week I have been instructed to create the best and most efficient dish for this endeavor. Whither you need to stop the aches, are just beginning to think you might live through this, or just out camping in your “Bambi” and heating a good stew to cure “your spots”, this will help you feel better!

1 lbs thin sliced chicken thighs
8 oz. loose pork sausage
1 medium yellow onion
3 cloves garlic minced
1 28oz. can stewed tomatoes (un-drained)
1 15oz. can navy (cannellini) beans, rinsed & drained
3 cups chicken stock
½ cup shredded carrots
salt & pepper to taste
8 oz. Baby spinach - rough chop.

Do your cutting first always. 

Cut up the onion in a medium bowl, mince the garlic into a small bowl Lay out the rinsed spinach and run a pizza cutter through it a couple of times, just to rough chop it.
Rinse the beans and drain.

In a dutch oven, heat 2 tbs olive oil and brown the bone-less, skinless chicken thighs. This take only about 6 minutes per side. You will know when to turn the pieces when they release from the pan.

Remove and add the half pound of sausage. Stir this as it cooks for about 7 to 8 minutes.

Add in the onions and stir. By now there will be a coating on the bottom of the pan (frond). Loosen this with about ½ a cup of chicken broth. (deglaze) that way you keep all the wonderful flavor and have an easy to clean pan! Let the onions cook for about 7 minutes adding the garlic during the last minute.

Now, by handfuls, add the spinach as you stir it in. A big handful will wilt down to almost nothing right before your eyes. Take your time with this, if you add it all at once you will end up with a mess all over the stove. 

Once that is wilted, pour in the tomatoes and the drained beans. Sprinkle the carrots and cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.

Top off with the rest of the chicken stock or broth and let simmer for at least 45 minutes.

For maximum effect serve in bowl that you hold your face over and breathe in the healing vapors!

Allow any left-overs to cool before storing in refrigerator. It will taste even better reheated!


Hope you all feel better!

To satisfy and restore.
To nourish, support and maintain.
To gratify, spoil, comfort and please,
to nurture, assist, and sustain
..I cook!

Why this dish heals!

The steam from the hot soup opens up stuffy nasal passages and the hot broth is soothing to a sore throat. The nourishment from the chicken and vegetables provides energy and is easy to digest. The heat from the soup raises your internal body temperature slightly, warming you to the core.

The cooked chicken releases the amino acid cysteine which helps to loosen mucous in the lungs and nasal passages making it easier for you to cough it out and to blow your nose. Carrots contain beta carotene that can be converted to vitamin A. Carrots also have antiseptic properties. Garlic fights viruses and bacteria. Onions contain the flavonoid quercetin, which has antioxidant and antihistamine properties. They also contain properties that help fight infections.
Cooking tomatoes appears to increase the availability of key nutrients such as the caroteinoids lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Stewed tomatoes provide considerably more lutein and zeaxanthin than sun dried tomatoes and raw cherry tomatoes.
According to the researchers, lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that is 10 times more potent than vitamin E.

Spinach is a virtuous source of Vitamins A, C, E, K and even a few B vitamins too. Spinach also offers up proteins to support the body and strengthen overall function of bodily organs.

Cannellini beans have a detoxifying effect on the body thanks to their high molybdenum content. (a trace element that plays an essential role by stimulating the action of detoxifying enzymes).
They contain an enzyme that catalyses “sulfites”- that can cause wheezing or shortness of breath - into “sulfates”- which are non-toxic.

Yes even the sausage can be considered healthy:
sausage provides vitamin B-12, a nutrient important for healthy red blood cells. Vitamin B-12 allows you to make hemoglobin, the protein your blood needs to transport oxygen. Consuming enough B-12 also helps you metabolize fats and protein, plays a role in brain function and protects you from the nerve damage that can result from vitamin B-12 deficiency.

So don't forget your daily dose:
Cleansing. “Plenty of fluids” is often advised when you’re ill. A body full of attacking viruses needs to be flushed in order to get healthy. To that effect, the abundant broth in chicken soup performs aptly. 
Disinfecting. Chicken soup is fairly salty even with lower-sodium versions, so that when it goes down your throat it acts in much the same way as gargling warm salt water. In other words, it removes bacteria in the throat, mouth, and tonsils. 
Clears sinuses. Much like other warm liquids (for example, tea), it can help to clear the sinuses with steam.

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