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There are presents for the Holidays, all wrapped up with bows, and then there are presents that can’t be wrapped. Like the gift of destressing during this very busy time. My gift was this Mediterranean Lemon Chicken Soup. Each spoonful was total relaxing, comfort food. Like a big hug. Right when you need it.
Mediterranean Lemon Chicken Soup
It’s fun to see the beautiful lights, shopping for that special gift for someone you love, wrapping presents, sending cards, having cookie exchanges, special Christmas programs and plays, visiting family and friends. And when you put them all together, that spells exhaustion especially when you have to work, take care of your family, and try to provide a delicious dinner to keep everybody going.
You could just order a pizza …and who doesn’t love pizza?… But in the time it takes to order a pizza, you could also make this fabulous soup. Ok, I hear you. Soup? That’s boring. I would say it depends on the soup. There’s soup from a can, and yep, I agree. Not only are canned soups boring but they’re usually sky high in sodium. Check out the labels.
But for very little effort, you could also have something extraordinary. Like this Mediterranean Lemon Chicken Soup. Not many ingredients, but added together it turns into wonderfullness..my new word…to perfectly describe this hearty soup. I’ve made it so many times and have given it to friends especially during those times when stress seems to hit all at once. They tell me this soup is like a big hug. It just brings sense back to life.
So what are the ingredients? Pretty simple. You’ve heard me talk about Mirepoix before…that perfect combination of celery, carrots and onions. If you have Trader Joe’s nearby, you can even find a carton of Mirepoix all cut up for you to save a bit of time.
And speaking of time, yes, you can make this soup in a slow cooker, but I prefer to make it in my big soup pot on the stove, because a major flavor in this is the caramelization of the Mirepoix. Another time saver is using leftover chicken from the Rotisserie Chicken you bought at the store the other day.
Next you add in lemon juice, a chief ingredient in Mediterranean cooking, some light seasoning and most importantly, the chicken broth. I’ve tried all kinds of premade chicken broths and they all fell flat. Either they were so high in sodium that they tasted terrible or, worse, the low sodium brands tasted bland and awful.
I would love to say that I make my own chicken broth from scratch, but honestly who has time to do that? And really what we’re talking about here is saving time. So as I continued my search for the perfect broth, I Finally found a brand I loved. And it’s perfect for this Mediterranean Lemon Chicken Soup.
It tastes like homemade and the low sodium version was fabulous. It’s Manischewitz. It’s kind of hard to find sometimes, but I did find it on Amazon. Yes, you need to buy it in bulk, but it figures out to be just a bit over $4 per 32 oz. carton. Not bad. And the bonus with chicken broth is that you can freeze it in small containers and use the portion you need, for sauces or simmering vegetables. Just be sure and leave a 1/4 on the top so it has room to expand when it freezes.
Health note: Celery has been used as a calming agent since early times. Ancient Chinese found that it lowered blood pressure, Ancient Egyptians prescribed it for rheumatism, and Hippocrates used celery to fight inflammation.
In a Massachusetts study of 1300 elderly people, those who were given at least one serving of carrots a day had a 60% reduction in their risk of heart attacks compared to the group with less than one serving a day. Onions are a Powerful Antioxident. Quercetin is the Antioxident that helps eliminate free radicals from the body and onions have twice the Quercetin as tea and over three times as much as apples.
I hope you take a special moment for yourself and your family to enjoy Mediterranean Lemon Chicken Soup. Consider it a hug from me to you. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!
Mediterranean Lemon Chicken Soup is so delicious, it's like receiving a big wonderful hug. It just brings sense back to life.
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and sear on all sides, about 2-3 minutes, and removed to a dish.
To soup pot add celery, carrots and onions. Cook 4-5 minutes, until the vegetables just begin to have a slight caramelization.
Add lemon juice, salt, pepper and stir. Add the chicken.
Add in the chicken broth and turn heat down to medium low and allow to simmer 30 minutes. Finish with the basil leaves.