September 17, 2014

Time for Soup

As Autumn Equinox comes near, I am gathering the abundance of the harvest and making basil and nettle pesto, elderberry syrup, tomato sauce, and blanched vegetables for the freezer.

The evenings are almost frosting and the mornings are misty and cool.
It feels like time for some warming, comforting soup

A food’s energetic quality is inherent to it. Cooking can modify it, but only to a certain extent. A cooling food like fruit, even when cooked, is still relatively cooling. Ginger or cinnamon can be added to an apple to increase its warming quality, but the fruit’s original cooling effect remains. As we prepare for winter, we can eat warm and warming foods to prevent illness and strengthen ourselves for the colder months to come.

Foods rich in protein and fat have more calories and thus are more warming. Vegetables that grow more slowly are also more warming. For example, cabbage is more warming than lettuce and root vegetables are warmer than peppers or tomatoes.

The fire element is related to heat in the body. Metabolism and circulation depend upon this stimulating quality to transform food and body chemicals into functional substances and circulate them throughout the system. Foods that are hot, both in temperature and spice level, increase metabolism and circulation.

Chicken and White Bean Stew

You will need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 onions, chopped
1/4 pound free-range chicken, boneless (omit for vegetarians)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups purple cabbage, chopped
1 teaspoon each: coriander and cumin
½ teaspoon each: oregano, chili flakes, and salt
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed, or 4 cups cooked canellini beans
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Parmesan cheese as garnish if desired

In a soup pot, saute onions for 15 minutes on medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown.
Splash with apple cider vinegar.
Add the chicken and saute on medium high heat, stirring constantly with a metal spatula, until chicken is cooked through - about 5 to 10 minutes depending on the cut.
Add the celery, carrots, garlic, cabbage, and spices. Stir well.
Add the other ingredients (except the cheese) and bring to a boil.
Reduce to simmer, cook for 15 minutes, and serve.
Garnish with Parmesan if you like.

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