A Let It Rain. And Clear It Out.

It's a rainy Sunday spring afternoon, you've somehow managed to get out of bed and over to the couch to nurse your hangover to eight straight episodes of 'The Blacklist'.  It might be the fact you're still drunk but two episodes in you think to yourself "this acting isn't that bad" and "I don't think I am going to be hungover today", then it hits you.  Laying there scared and wanting to crawl out of your own skin, you know that food is the one thing (besides more whiskey) keeping you from pulling out of that coma of regret they call the "Sunday Scaries".  And yes, you could open your phone and fire up a food delivery app that could have an ice cream sundae and a large buffalo chicken pizza delivered to your door in a mere 45-90 minutes.  You could also see the several "you still awake?" texts you sent at 5:00 am or the right swipes you made at your most desperate state.  Turn that phone face down, place your feet on the ground and walk your way to the fridge.

Chicken Orzo Soup

People who voluntarily eat the inedible salty contents of canned soups baffles me more than those who think painting them is considered great art.  Once you get over the overall appearance of this watery mush and the lack of any nutritional value, you can probably justify eating cans of soup by the economics of it.  Wrong.  The cost to make your own soup is low enough any recent graduate of a liberal arts program could afford it.  Here is a slight twist on a classic chicken noodle soup that you can eat all week:

  • 4-6 chicken thighs (bone-in / skin removed)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

I told myself I would take a picture with all the ingredients, playas fuck up, regardless the first step in making any soup is to start to cooking the meat (protein) before you drop it into hot liquid.  You can use breast if that's what you're into, but the thighs will be harder to dry out and are more suitable for shredding.  Bone-in chicken will keep the meat moist at the same time flavoring the soup.

Before you turn a single burner on, season the chicken (skin on or off) and let sit for 15-20 minutes.  Don't be scared you are growing gangrene on the surface, letting the chicken warm-up to room temperature is going to keep your chicken from drying out.  If you see what looks like condensation (tiny water droplets) forming on the outside of the chicken that means your chicken is ready to put in the pan.

Oil your pan and turnt the heat up to medium high.  Once the oil starts to heat up, drop the chicken in for 4-6 minutes a side or until the outside starts to brown.  Do not overdo this part as you are just looking to brown the outside only, you will finish cooking these baby bird butts in the next step.  Set aside on a plate and let cool.  Here comes the more healthy items:

  • 4 browned chicken thighs (see above)
  • 2 quarts of low sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 onion (white)
  • 2 bell peppers (red & yellow)
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 3 medium cloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch of greens (dandelion)
  • 1 package of herbs (sage, rosemary & thyme combo pack)
  • Not shown:
    • Pasta (Orzo, which looks like rice but is actually pasta)

Hopefully you have not attempted to clean out the pan you cooked your chicken in, we are going to use that oil and cooked off chicken fat to start cooking the vegetables.  Cut the peppers, onion & carrot into cubes (also known as a 'dice') and add them into your pot.  Add a pinch of salt and turn the heat up to medium.

I chose the color of the peppers strictly to add different colors into the soup because someone once told me "you eat with your eyes as much as your mouth", but it could also have just been a failed dating app slogan.  Turn the heat up to medium high, add a pinch of salt, brown the vegetables and cook until the onions start to look translucent.  While this mixture is cooking use a garlic press / finely dice the garlic, add at the end and cook for 2 minutes in the same mixture of vegetables.

Add the greens and cook for another 2 minutes until they start to wilt.  Feel free to use any leafy green you can find and don't be afraid to use the whole package as there will be major shrinkage. 

Dump both containers of chicken broth into the pot and turn the heat up to high until the liquid starts to simmer also known as bubbles appearing at the edges of the pot.

Add the chick thighs and use tongs to push down submerging them into the liquid, before covering add the herbs.  These are just to add a little extra flavor and will be removed at the end of the cooking process.  If you are worried about fishing these out you can use cooking twine to tie them together, I personally would rather create additional work for myself in a more productive state.

Keep the liquid at a simmer, cover and leave on the lowest heat setting your burner allows.  This should be ready to eat within about an hour after being covered but you can leave on up to 2 hours before the vegetable turn into baby food.

(I didn't document this but I hope for your own well being that you have the ability to cook pasta.)  Cook pasta very "al dente" and set aside in a separate container.  Don't add this to the pot of liquid unless you plan on eating the whole pot in one sitting.  

I refuse to use a microwave unless I am at work, without the ability to heat up food on a stove top.  Each portion of soup I prepare I add the amount of pasta (Orzo in this case) desired.  Some days I am feeling a little more soup and some days a little more pasta, this also keeps the pasta from getting soft.  The thighs are still whole and will need to be shredded by hand.  I keep them whole to ensure there is an equal amount of chicken in each serving of soup.  

Get well soon.