Echinacea has a long history of use by many alternative traditions. Believed to have originated in the North American Plains Indians, but recently, echinacea purpurea was noted among the group of organic herbs and spices also used in European traditional medicine. By modern-day enthusiasts, it is known as Purple Coneflower, but in Native American culture, it is also known as Snake Root, believed used for snake and venomous insect bites. Because of its large, showy petals surrounding a spiny, cone-shaped center, the echinacea is easily distinguished among several varieties.
Aside from being used in infused, echinacea can also be a great herb for all sort of recipes. Try this Easy Sage and Echinacea Cold Care Chicken Soup.
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium head garlic (smashed and minced at least 15 minutes prior to cooking)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 quarts chicken broth
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 whole boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2 Tbsp dried sage leaves
- 2-4 Tbsp dried echinacea
- 1/2 tsp crushed cayenne pepper
- 8oz pasta, uncooked
- 2-4 Tbsp freshy parsley, chopped
- Heat butter and olive oil together in a medium size soup pot over med-low heat.
- Saute the garlic and onion on medium-low until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. You do not want these to brown, just soften.
- increase the heat to medium and add flour to create a roux. Whisk in to absorb oils and cook 1-2 minutes. Let it bubble, but do not let it brown.
- Add the chicken broth to the pot, careful of the stream. Whisk and stir over low heat to eliminate any lumps. This will give you a somewhat thickened but still nice and brothy soup base.
- Bring to a simmer and add the whole uncooked chicken breast, carrots, sage, cayenne, salt and pepper.
- Place dried echinacea into a tea strainer ball or bundle in cheese cloth and add to the pot. You want to let this steep in the broth for as long as possible to release the medicinal qualities into the broth.
- Simmer covered on low approximately 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and will pull apart easily.
- Remove the chicken breast to a plate and allow it to cool enough to handle.
- While the chicken cools, add the pasta to the pot and simmer according to package directions or desired doneness.
- Pull the chicken apart with a fork to make rough spoon sized pieces and return it to the soup pot to heat through.
- Remove the echinacea bundle or tea bags.
- Toss in a handful of fresh chopped parsley to finish.
- Serve it up! Store the leftovers in the fridge to reheat as needed until you are feeling better.