In honor of the Winter Solstice I'd like to share a simple and delicious tea recipe that is a perfect accompaniment to this seasonal dynamic. Just as on winter solstice we see the rebirth of the sun from the depth of winter, this warming yellow tea is like a burst of sunlight to warm us on a cold, dark day. Three golden and yellow ingredients-- ginger, lemon, and honey-- come together in a tea that is great for strengthening the immune system and warding of colds, and also for alleviating symptoms if a cold has already set in. I love that the colors of all the ingredients in this tea are yellow and golden; it really does evoke the sunlight we so often crave in the cold and dark of winter.
Tomorrow is the winter solstice, so I'd like to share a bit about what is happening energetically in winter and on the solstice. In the ancient philosophy of Chinese Medicine, we look at nature and the cycle of the seasons as our guidepost towards greater balance and wholeness. Using this lens, we see the cycle of the seasons as a continual dance between the energies of yin and yang.
This is one of my favorite winter soup recipes. It's easy to make, delicious and nourishing. It has plenty of the warming and immune-supportive herbs that are also so delicious: ginger, garlic, and onions. I always freeze a jar of this soup whenever I make a batch; that way I always have chicken soup ready in case I or anyone in my family starts to get a cold. This soup is medicine! If you are grain-free you can simply omit the wild rice. I sometimes will also add a spoonful of miso paste to a bowl of this soup, as miso is medicine in and of itself!
Simple Asian-Style Chicken Soup
1 bone-in organic, free-range chicken breast
2 tbsp. olive oil, coconut oil or ghee
1 and ½ yellow onions
6 celery ribs, 2 left whole and 4 diced
4 carrots, diced
3-4 large slices fresh ginger
3 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup wild rice, rinsed (optional)
1 tsp. unrefined salt
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
Toasted sesame oil to season
1.)Place the chicken breast, 2 whole celery ribs, and ½ an onion in a crockpot and add about 8-10 cups of water. Turn crockpot to low heat setting and let cook for 6-8 hours.
2.)Using tongs, remove the chicken breast from the crockpot and set it on a plate to cool while you prep the other soup ingredients.
3.)Heat the oil in a large soup pot over low heat. Once oil is warm add diced onion, celery and carrot, as well as ginger slices. Saute veggies on low heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add minced garlic, salt and wild rice, and saute another minute or two.
4.)Using a strainer, strain the chicken broth from the crockpot into the the soup pot.
5.)Remove the chicken from the bones once cool enough to handle (and the skin if the chicken breast had skin on). Shred the chicken and add to the soup pot.
6.)Bring the soup to boil, then turn heat to low and simmer about 30-45 minutes.
7.)Add cilantro, green onions, fresh cracked pepper, and a few dashes of toasted sesame oil to taste.
I am a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist with a Heart-centered practice in the Santa Cruz mountains. See my About page for more about me and the work I do.