SEASONAL RECIPES: WINTER

As the evenings grow darker and t-shirts are swapped for sweaters, we start craving foods that comfort and nourish. 'The Healthy Chef' Teresa Cutter shares some delicious and healthy recipes for the winter months.

IMMUNITY BOOSTING CHICKEN SOUP

When I was little my great aunt used to make this amazing Polish chicken soup called Rosół to help fight a cold or flu. It was amazing – you could instantly feel its healing effects with every mouthful. If we wanted noodles with our soup, she would beat up a few fresh eggs and slowly pour the mix in a thin stream into the simmering stock to make the best egg noodles, known in Polish as ‘lane kluski’. With a few tweaks to her original recipe, the ingredients in my chicken soup have been specifically selected to help fight cold and flu. Don’t be scared off by the amount of garlic in the recipe – after a few minutes the flavour will infuse into the stock and give it richness and density. It’s the key to its flavour as well as to staying cold and flu-free all winter. Make it quickly, sip it slowly, and enjoy its benefits all season.

What’s good about it
Garlic, turmeric and ginger are potent detoxifying and antiviral herbs that help rid the body of toxins, stimulate circulation, reduce inflammation, aid digestion and boost the immune system. Coriander also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help fight disease. Adding a little protein, such as chicken, supplies essential amino acids necessary for healing and nourishing your body. The perfect ingredients to help you get through the winter cold.

Serves 4
Time it takes: 10 minutes

Ingredients
10 cloves garlic, smashed (approx 1 whole bulb)
2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
1 tablespoon fresh grated turmeric (see notes)
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
1 litre water
500g free range/organic chicken breast, cut into chunks (see notes on using whole chicken)
2 bunches coriander, chopped
¼ cup (60ml) mirin or rice wine (optional but delicious)
3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
Combine the garlic, turmeric, ginger, stock, water and chicken in a large pot.
Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes over a low heat until chicken is cooked through and flavours have infused into the stock.
Add mirin, tamari and coriander just before serving.
Serve in large bowls and sip slowly. Enjoy.

Nutrition per serve
Protein: 27g
Total fat: 7g
Saturated: 2g
Carbs: 2g
Calories: 193
Kilojoules: 807

Notes:
Vegetarians can use vegetable stock in place of chicken stock and lane kluski (egg noodles) or silken tofu in place of the chicken. For lane kluski beat two eggs and pour in a thin stream over the simmering stock for the best egg noodles you’ll ever eat.

Fresh turmeric is available from your local grocer. If using dry then only use ¼ teaspoon, but fresh is best for its anti-viral properties.
Other vegetables such as shiitake mushroom, spinach and kale can be added if you like.
A little chilli or XO sauce can be added for a little heat.

This soup only takes 10 minutes to make, which is why chicken breasts are used. Obviously you can make this soup using a whole chicken, using all of the stock and removing the tender meat from the chicken then stirring through the stock before serving. This will take approximately 1½ hours.


HEALTHY HOT CHOCOLATE

At this time of year I start craving hot chocolate. Something warm, sweet and nourishing that’s healthy and not going to turn me into a marshmallow during winter. Cocoa contains beta-carotene, calcium, zinc, iron, potassium and chromium, not to mention magnesium that can help with bone mineralisation, muscle contraction and immune function. When drinking hot chocolate, it’s best to drink out of a large mug or bowl because your senses pick up every aroma coming from the steaming hot milk – the taste and smell of vanilla bean, cinnamon and cacao nourish your soul and warm the body. Enjoy!

Serves 2
Time it takes: 5 minutes

Ingredients
1 cup (250 ml) milk – your choice of organic dairy, almond or any nut or seed milk, coconut, rice or soy
1 cup (250 ml) water
1 heaped tablespoon quality cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon honey or a few drops of stevia to taste
Combine milk, water, cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla in a small pot. Heat gently, pour into serving cups, sweeten with a little honey or stevia to taste, and enjoy.

Nutrition per serve 
(calculated using reduced fat organic milk)
Protein: 5.6g
Total fat: 2.2g
Saturated: 1.4g
Carbs: 13.2g
Calories: 93
Kilojoules: 390

Note:
For a richer hot chocolate, use all milk in place of the water.


Teresa Cutter
Teresa is one of Australia’s leading authorities on healthy cooking and the founder of The Healthy Chef, a company dedicated to improving health and wellbeing. A qualified chef with over 20 years’ experience, as well as a nutritionist and fitness professional, she has combined her knowledge of food, diet and exercise to develop healthy recipes for people who love food but want to maximise their health and wellbeing. For more information visit www.thehealthychef.com