We are in weakened state, with two boys down and a mother rapidly following suit.
This calls for Chicken Noodle Soup.
Like all great recipes, it's not so much original as it is reinterpreted.
Inspired by Jora, who was inspired by a friend, this has evolved to become my go-to sick-bed recipe.
The chicken is cooked in stock, rather than in water to make stock, resulting in a broth that is doubly rich and golden.
The lemon juice (just a squeeze) is the super-duper, not-to-be-overlooked secret ingredient that puts it over the top.
Double chicken flavour, with a hint of vitamin C.
I hope you and yours are well, but if not, make this and you soon will be.
Chicken Noodle Soup
1 whole free-range chicken
1 litre chicken stock (I used Cambell's Low-Sodium in a carton - don't judge me)
3 carrots chopped (I like mine smallish)
3 celery stalks with leaves, chopped (ditto)
1 large or two small onions, chopped
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 handful of continental parsely, chopped fine
1 packet flat egg noodles (optional)
Put the chicken in a large pot and add the stock. If the liquid doesn't quite cover the bird, top it up with water from the kettle. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered. Cook gently for 40-ish minutes (I like my chicken slow-cooked and tender, but be careful: if you let it go too long it will become stringy and mealy. Yuck). Remove the chicken from the pot to a platter.
Melt a knob of butter in a large frying pan, add the carrots, celery and onion and saute without browning, until the onion is translucent and the carrot and celery begin to soften. Add to the broth and simmer away.
Meanwhile, remove the skin from the chicken and pull the meat apart into bite-sized strips. (I set the white meat aside to be used in sandwiches and salads, returning only the darker meat to the pot).
Now, for the noodles: I cook mine in a wire basket submerged in the pot of broth and vegetables - this way, the noodles get great flavor and I can lift them out of the pot in one motion, store them in a separate container and add as needed, without worrying about them getting mushy, or leave them out entirely, as individual tastes demand.
Return the meat to the pot, add the all-import squeeze of lemon, and tip in the parsley.
Put noodles in bowls, ladle hot soup over noodles, and watch it disappear.
Image via Seabold Vintage Market - I love everything in this shop.