Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lunch Box Chronicles: Day One-Hundred and Twenty-Four (On the Meaning of Chicken Soup)

Whether we admit it or not, we all need comfort.  The need comes in all shapes and sizes.  The need may emanate from a cold drizzly spring that has haunted Maine, or from boo-boos and a runny nose on a 9 year old, or from too much homework for a 13 year old, or just from feeling overwhelmed as the 47 year old daughter of an 85 year old mother who needs have become greater than the daughter could honestly manage.  And sometimes that comfort simply cannot be found in others, but needs to be created from scratch.  My youngest honed right in on that need the other day.  "Mom,  I would like chicken soup."   "Really, honey?  I let you stay home from school, but I have soooo much to do....clean out grandma's house, deliver some bagels, do some business planning...making chicken soup is going to take time."  "But, Mom," she pleaded, "Really, I need chicken soup."  The request was reasonable, almost brilliant, and I decided that the comfort for the day needed to made from scratch.
My soup recipes are unscientific, but time tested.  I always start with olive oil, chopped onions, and crushed garlic (with salt) in the bottom of the pan.  After the onions soften and are slightly browned, I add chopped carrots and potatoes.  I then follow with whatever chicken is on hand (frozen chicken breasts this time).  I add more oil if necessary.  Next comes the kitchen sink - i.e., whatever I can find in the fridge or freezer.  This time: sliced mushrooms, fresh asparagus, and frozen green beans.  Spinach is also good.  Keep sauteing, adding enough oil to keep from sticking.  Add a small amount of water to make dark broth.  Then add as much water as will fit in the pan.  Spice as you like.  I used chopped parsley, sea salt, pepper, and basil.   Keep cooking until chicken is done, veggies are soft, and broth is flavorful.

Serve with Spelt Right bread.

The end result: A comforting meal for those in need of comfort.

Be well, cook with your family.  Your children will remember this far more than the multitude of plastic gifts we give  them.

No comments:

Post a Comment