Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I Don't Know About You, But I Love A Recipe With Leeks In It. I Always Feel Cool With A Leek In My Shopping Cart. Clearly, I Need To Take A Good Hard Look At What I Consider Cool These Days.

Okay, so maybe I wasn't as Zen as I'd imagined over the weekend.  I've ended up with a canker sore on my throat which (as informed by a doctor years ago) is an unfortunate by-product of quiet stress and tiredness in my world.  Delightful.  They are pretty painful - especially when talking or yawning.  Two things I do all day long frequently.  So I'm in the process of self-medicating.

A glass of wine, of course, has numerous health benefits - one of which is the deadening of throat pain, I've noticed.  Will the wonders of wine never cease?  But my major weapon in battling illness is chicken soup.  I am a true believer in the power of a good chicken broth with veggies and the like floating around in it.  So last night, I don't want to brag or anything, I may have made the best chicken soup ever.

After wading through the Googled results of a chicken soup recipe search, I concluded most of them were way too labor intensive, time consuming, or plain ol' blah-sounding.  So I pieced together the parts I liked, added elements I recalled from fond soup memories, and created my own little concoction.  I wanted savory, tangy and spicy all at once and I think we have a winner here.  This whole pot-full of healing goodness was easily thrown together between a freezing cold soccer game and the lacrosse carpool.  Simple, tasty and curative.  Here is the recipe so you can feel like a doctor next time someone you love isn't feeling dandy.

Amazing Chicken Soup

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large leek - chopped, white and light green parts only
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 - 1 1/4 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into smallish pieces
coarse sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
8 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup orzo
1/4 chopped fresh dill
juice of 1 - 2 lemons

Saute the leek, celery and carrots in the olive oil until they start getting soft.  Season them with salt and pepper while sauteing.  Add the chicken and season with the salt and pepper again.  Saute until the chicken is mostly cooked through.  Pour in all the chicken broth and simmer until the chicken is totally cooked.  Add the orzo and cook until the pasta is finished.  Add the dill and lemon juice.  Simmer for a while - at least as long as it takes to fold a load of laundry.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Serve it up and feel better.

* I may have overdone the salt a bit.  I like to season things as I add them to the pot rather than only at the end - I feel like it locks enhanced tastiness into whatever is being cooked.   So maybe next time I'd go with a low-sodium broth.  That, or I'll just drink some extra water before bed.  Do not skimp on the pepper though.  Part of the joy of this soup is the heat in the end.

* These are all rough measurements - don't feel tied to any amounts, really.  Except for the broth.  I know I emptied out two of those box things the broth comes in nowadays so that amount is right on the mark.

I'm wearing this:

It's an at home day, but I still wanted to look presentable.  Jeans, a loose sweater and clogs fills the bill.  I feel better when I take off my yoga pants and just get dressed already.  Even if no one but that guy that sells "high-quality" meat door-to-door sees me.  That's just how I am.

gratitude:  the weekend weather forecast, Kathryn Budig's yoga classes, slipcovers, baguette

thanks and love.

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