Tis Tuesday, my friends, and you know what this means?! I head out into the pastures, shear a flock of sheep, and make myself a new fleece coat.
No . . . that’s not right — I do that on Thursday!
I kid, I kid.
You all are in for a HUGE treat today. I thought we would shake things up a bit and do some cooking! And since a prowess in couture cuisine simply does not abound in this writer’s facility, I’ve enlisted the help of my husband — who, among his many hats, happens to own a toque, too — to whip us up a delicious meal. Winter is upon us; I know I openly subject myself to derision and mockery when I say that I have been very cold these past couple of days, temperatures dropping into the *gulp* 40’s. I know, I know — many of you incur snow, sleet, and throughout the day are forced to check less lardaceous appendages to ensure they’re still attached. But I’m a California girl, and 40 is frickin’ cold in my books!
Nothing says warmth and comfort like a steaming bowl of hearty chicken noodle soup, wouldn’t you agree? There’s just something about it that melts you from the inside, taking the cold and expelling it bit by bit. The sumptuous savory goodness leaves you relaxed and at peace, as if you’ve been hugged from the inside.
In the mood for some soup yet? I hope so!
Oh, and per the title:
This ain’t your cup of Campbell’s Soup.
Wash your hands, grab yourself some cutting boards, knives, a very large pot, and let’s get cookin’!
*** Note: Michael and I make our entire week’s worth of food on Sunday, neither of us much for contending with a dinner menu after a long day of work and an evening workout. We learned long ago that having something healthy already prepared in advance helps us make the right choices in terms of food. You never want to shop at the grocery store or cook when you’re starved — you’ll end up eating twinkies and 4 bowls cereal for dinner. Mmm . . . cereal. No, bad Cara! You can follow our recipe exactly and expect to make about 12-16 servings, or you can modify the amounts to fit your preference; however, let me remind you once more that I am writer and crafter, not a mathematician, so you’re on your own with those configurations. And just to illustrate my point, I’ve included a picture of me attempting to solve a rudimentary mathematical equation:
In a large pot, prepare the broth.
1 whole chicken — 2 legs, 2 breasts, 2 thighs broken apart — fat and skin removed
14 cups water
1qt vegetable broth
4-5 bay leaves
3 rosemary sprigs
Small handful of celery leaves
1/2 of ground flower pepper
1 tbs sea salt
Celery leaves should look something like this.
Flower pepper — purchased at Trader Joe’s
Bring to boil and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Slice two Pasilla peppers in half and roast on an open flame until lightly charred. Set aside to cool.
They should appear something like this:
Chop large sweet onion, four celery stalks, about 1/8 cup minced garlic. Sauté on medium high heat until tender.
Tip: How to cut an onion efficiently and expertly:
Ta da! Now that’s gettin’ your money’s worth!
In a separate pan, along with the celery, onions, and garlic, add: 1 lemon sliced with peels (seeds removed), 1 tablespoon oregano, I teaspoon thyme, I teaspoon smoked paprika, and sauté for another minute or two to enhance the spices. Set aside.
At this point you should get your pasta going. Best to cook it beyond al dente. The choice of noodles is up to you! There’s tons to choose from. We used these little cutie shells:
Remove chicken from soup carefully, and let cool slightly. Turn soup heat to low. Remove rosemary sprigs and bay leaves. Strip chicken from bone, careful not to leave any bones left. Let it cool and use fingers to shred — you can use a fork if you’re inpatient.
Add chicken and veggie mixture back to broth, and continue heating on low.
Chop 3-4 Roma tomatoes, roasted Pasilla peppers, and about 1/2 cup of fresh spinach.
Add drained pasta noodles/shells, and allow soup to continue to cook for about 10-15 on low before serving. If necessary, add a bit of salt, tasting between stirs to adjust to personal preference.
Graciously offer your friends and family a small sample, then, when they ask for more, sell a bowl to them for a ridiculously inflated sum of money.
Now you know I’m just kidding! The only thing better than sitting down to enjoy a delicious meal is sharing it with another, one equally fond of scumptious eats. Mm, how good does this look?
And a round of applause for our guest chef, Michael Olsen. Thank you, Michael!
Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Until next time . . .