Thursday, March 24, 2011

Get-well-soon-and-I-love-you-in-a-bowl-soup AKA Chicken Soup

It is a cold damp spring day -- it is perfect weather for chicken soup.  But when you are a soup person, any day is a good day for soup. My husband and I -- and now our 2 year old son -- we are soup people.  I make a lot of soups.  I used to think I wasn't too good at making chicken soup.  I mean my husband liked it -- and my son LOVES it.  He will eat bowl after bowl of it; it is the only way he will eat chicken.  But overall, I thought my other soups were just better.  And I guess I didn't give much attention to my chicken soup -- but I've received some rave reviews lately -- so I guess my recipe is worth sharing..

Recently my girlfriend Casey's little girl was quite sick (very sad -- but she is all better now), so there wasn't much cooking going on in their house -- there is no time for that when your baby is really sick.  Their time and energy was going into helping her get better.  So I thought I would make Casey and her family some chicken soup.  The only reason I chose chicken soup (even though I thought it wasn't my best) is you always hear about the healing properties of the classic chicken soup.  I don't know if it is the boiled chicken or the idea of the chicken soup that makes you feel better.  But who am I to challenge this time held belief in this healing elixir - chicken soup.  So I made it.  To my surprise, they loved it.  I mean they LOVED IT!  It turns out they are soup people too.They were more than kind with the compliments.  So their attention to my ordinary chicken soup made me revisit my impression of this soup and take the time to document how I make this soup.  And it appears that my ordinary chicken soup is not so ordinary after all -- they think it is special -- they felt the love -- and in the end that is all that is important -- isn't it?

Hence I thought I would share the recipe.

Get-well-soon-I-love-you-in-a-bowl-soup AKA Chicken Soup

4 carrots (2 chopped tiny and 2 made into chunks)
1 onion
2 celery stacks
2 cloves garlic
Olive oil
1 box (4 cups) organic chicken stock
10 cups water
3 medium potatoes or 4 small potatoes
2 breasts of chicken (chicken on the bone adds flavor, but it is ok to use boneless and skinless)
1 or  2 bay leaves
 8 chicken bullion cubes
half pound digitali pasta
salt and pepper to taste

* Mommy hint -- If you have a chunk of cheese rind, toss that in too -- it puts a nice salty flavor in the background of your soup. But it is not necessary.

Start by chopping two carrots, celery, and onion -- all should be chopped up fine.  Put in a stock pot with olive oil on the bottom add some salt and pepper to help the veggies sweat. Cook until soften and onion is translucent.  Add two cloves of garlic, stir, and wait a minute for flavors to come together.  Pour in a box of chicken stock and ten cups of cold water.  Cube up the pealed potatoes and other two carrots into bit size pieces - add to pot. Lastly, add in two chicken breasts, bay leaf, and eight chicken bullion -- and cheese rind if you have one. Simmer on low with cover off for one hour and a half. After chicken is cooked, take chicken out of pot and shred it using two forks.  Keep chicken out of pot while you boil noodles.  I use about a half a pound of digitali (it is my family's favorite for chicken soup).  Once noodles are done, take soup off flame and add chicken back in.  At this point, taste and add salt and pepper as needed.  It is ready to serve.  Enjoy the healing bowl of love!

* Mommy hint -- If you use too much pasta, it sucks up the liquid after it sits in the pot for awhile.  Sometimes it sucks up the liquid after you put the leftovers in the frig.  You can add a bit of water or some chicken stock to bring it back to life.

*My closing Mommy thought - If you have a friend who is sick or the friend has a sick person in the family she is nursing back to health, there is nothing that says I am thinking about you and care about your struggles like a pot of chicken soup.  No matter how you make it and what ingredients you use, love is always felt -- it is the most important healing property of the soup.

P.S. Bring it to their house in the same pot you cooked it -- it screams homemade, and I love you -- more than Tupperware does.