If any soup were known to embody calm, cozy contentment, it would be chicken noodle. We crave those feelings more than ever around this time of year as we ease out of our summer tank tops and into the turtlenecks of fall. Wishing to boost your usual chicken soup formula for an added depth of flavor that makes your soup extra comforting? Consider cinnamon. Everyone from Food Network celebrities to home chefs swear by the sweet surprise that a bit of cinnamon can add.
Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of the tree genus cinnamomum, so the powdered spice delivers obvious earthy, woody elements that add a complexity to an otherwise one-note chicken noodle broth. Cinnamon also has undertones of a sweet finish. Let a pinch of the spice simmer through your pot of chicken noodle soup, and you'll have, as Food Network Chef Anne Burrell calls it, one of her "super-secret flavor weapons" for chicken soup this fall.
You may know the two types of cinnamon that home chefs usually reach for are cassia and Ceylon, but it's cassia cinnamon that is most commonly found in your local grocery store. Cassia is less expensive, plus it gives a more potent, spicy flavor profile compared with Ceylon's flowery notes. However, either will elevate even a notoriously bland chicken noodle soup for good. Cinnamon also offers a health-benefitting compound called cinnamaldehyde, which can improve your health in ways you may not have known (via Healthline).
Read more: 10 Best Substitutes For Chicken Broth
How Cinnamon Helps Your Health
While adding a dash of cinnamon gives your winter chicken noodle soup a flavor lift, it may also boost your health. Less than a teaspoon of cinnamon every day could prove beneficial to your blood glucose levels, according to a series of studies that have focused on cinnamon and its health benefits (via Cleveland Clinic). One small study found that insulin therapy participants who took 1 gram, 3 grams, or 6 grams of cinnamon daily saw lower blood sugar levels compared to the placebo group that saw no change.
A meta-study in the Annals of Family Medicine found a "statistically significant" drop in glucose levels after cinnamon intake as well. That multi-study assessment also reported positive heart-healthy results, like lowered cholesterol and LDL (or "lousy" cholesterol, the kind that oatmeal mitigates) and a boost in HDL (high-density lipoprotein, the good cholesterol) in people who consumed cinnamon.
However, cinnamon is not the only spice that will add bold flavors as well as good health to your winter soups, according to traveling foodie website Chef Jar. Improving chicken soup is as easy as adding spices like coriander, which will give your cup of chicken noodle a crisp, citrus-flavored bonus. Rosemary or the flowering buds off of a thyme stalk can add a great intensity (best if simmered long and slow). You might also try the sweeter, peppery ginger, which, like cinnamon, also boasts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant health benefits.
Read the original article on Mashed.