My life is usually pretty busy, like any mom, but some weeks are more hectic than others. Of course, it always seems that those are the weeks that extra things come up, and I find myself torn between doing what I absolutely have to, and what I would like to.
I’m talking about “wants” like hitting a concert, the mall, or even that much desired, yet elusive, me-time. I’m talking about doing things that I feel I should be doing – like helping others.
Last week, I found out a friend was going in for surgery, and despite my packed schedule, I wanted to do something.
I know post-birthing the little man, one of the most awesome things someone did for me was bring me a meal. Tired and achey, I wasn’t exactly in the mood to stand in the kitchen and whip up dinner, but the last week of pregnancy we’d already had our fair share of takeout, so the idea of a simple home-cooked meal was the most amazing thing ever.
Based on that, I decided that I should make a meal for my friend. Something simple an comforting.
Specifically, homemade chicken soup.
Well, mostly homemade.
You see, being pressed for time, a completely from scratch soup would have been a bit much to take on. At the same time, I couldn’t simply crack open a can and send it over either.
So, I found a happy medium.
Get Well Quick Soup
2 small Roasted Chickens
Several Quarts Chicken Broth
Masala Curry Spices
Start by chopping the veggies. I used 3 carrots, 1 enormous sweet onion (I prefer using vidalia, yellow, or reds, not white), 2 stalks of celery, and 2 parsnips. Being that this was a Get Well soup, I went with organic veggies.
Not only is this recipe a great way to cheer up a sick friend, all the veggie chopping is a great way to vent some stress.
This is your mirepoix, the flavor base to your dish. A mirepoix usually consists of celery, onion, and carrot. I added parsnips because I a) had them and b) the Polish use them in their version of mirepoix, włoszczyzna. Toss this into a pot with a little olive oil or butter and saute. I added a heaping spoon of minced garlic as well. Normally, I’d use fresh garlic, but for quick soup, I use pre-minced. When the onions are translucent, cover with chicken broth.
Peel the skin from your roasted chickens. These babies are the big time savers. I purchased mine from Costco, $4.99 per chicken, already roasted, tender, and full of flavor. Pull all the meat off and chop it into manageable bite size pieces.Add chicken to the pot. Be sure there is enough broth to cover everything. Add chopped parsley, a healthy handful. Simmer on low.
Because the broth is pre-made (I use Pacific organic) and the chicken is already full of flavor, you don’t need to cook all day to get lots of flavor in this soup.
I did, however, dress mine up just a bit by adding a few pinches of a curry spice mix I had in the pantry (a combo of cinnamon, garlic, turmeric, and more) and a few generous squirts of Hoisin Sauce. (And yes, Hoisin is a standard condiment in my house – amazing in soup…highly recommend you grab some from your local grocery store. If your store doesn’t have an ethnic foods section, you can find hoisin online, or at an Asian grocer.) The combination gives the soup a slighter deeper flavor, one you won’t generally achieve without an all-day slow simmer.
After pouring the end results into disposable containers that don’t have to be returned, I tossed a few loaves of great bakery bread (from the store, not home baked – thanks again, Coscto!) in the bag, and voila! You’ve just done something nice for a friend…and might even have some leftovers to feed your own face.
What’s your favorite “feel better” food? Can you think of a friend that could use a pick me up?
Speaking of doing something for someone else, if you are a new reader, be sure to check out the #GoWithout movement page. I’ll be doing another round soon, so I’d love to add more blog posts to the lists with more ideas of ways you can help others by going without.