I love soup. I can eat soup year round. But when I don’t feel so good? Soup is about the only thing I can even consider putting in my mouth. I recently had a cold, and other than toast and tangerines, I essentially ate soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner for nearly a week. It was just the only thing I could stomach. And while I don’t have any rules about what makes something breakfast, other than I eat it first thing in the morning, I did find that my cold-related soup cravings changed throughout the day.
At night, I wanted lots of bland chicken stock with rice or little acini de pepe pasta, shreds of chicken breast, almost a soupy porridge. Around lunch I got nostalgic, craving classic Campbell’s Chicken noodle, with saltine crackers crumbled in, or cream of tomato with oyster crackers. But in the morning? I wanted something to wake me up, something with a bit of punch. A little heat, a little something to help clear the sinuses after they clogged themselves up all night. Some simple easily digestible protein. No chewing.
Since my freezer is full of homemade chicken stock, I used that, but store-bought is fine. This is my combo of flavors, but essentially, you just want to spice up the stock with whatever will perk you up first thing. It’s a lovely morning bowl, even if you feel just fine.
Breakfast Chicken Soup
1 2-inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled
1 small red Thai or Serrano pepper, seeded and sliced thin
2 quarts homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
Kosher salt to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
6 eggs, beaten
2 cups cooked orzo pasta or rice (optional)
How to Make It
Grate the ginger with a ginger grater or microplane, and squeeze the grated paste in your hand over a small bowl to capture the juice. You want the ginger punch but not all that fibrous stuff. Set the ginger juice aside and discard the rest. You should have about a tablespoon, give or take. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest off of the lemon in large strips, trying not to get too much white pith. Set aside and juice the lemon, being sure to discard the seeds.
In a Dutch oven set over medium-low heat, warm the stock. When it starts to steam, add the lemon zest and peppers. Add the ginger juice, and half of the lemon juice and cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, until the broth is fragrant. Taste the soup and add salt as needed. Want more lemon? Add more juice. Need to increase the spice level? Add some red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce. When the broth has the right balance for you, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer.
When just barely bubbling, grab a whisk and start whisking it slowly while drizzling the beaten eggs in a thin stream, so that they cook when they hit the broth in thin tendrils. Once all the eggs have been added, add in the orzo or rice if you are using it, and heat another five to six minutes just to warm them through. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve hot.
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