Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Two Chicken Soups

The weather here in Melbourne has turned properly autumnal. Summer is a memory, and the with the turning of the seasons come the usual rituals - woolly jumpers resurrected from the back of the wardrobe, sales of hot water bottles and electric blankets start to rise as the temperature drops and alas, the inevitable cold besmirches your body.  Or it's the 'flu.  Or some random virus that's going around.

So here are suggestions for two types of chicken soup, both pretty low-effort.  Because no-one feels like cooking when they're sick (or at least, I don't) they're 'cheat' soups - so make sure you've got some powdered chicken stock or bouillon cubes in your pantry.
I was pretty ill last week and trust me, you don't feel like doing much other than wrapping yourself in blankets and groaning a lot.  Making soup from scratch is for healthy people.

Animated GIF from Nerdy World

Seriously Low-Effort Soup
You've dragged yourself into the office because you're a workaholic, or there's a project deadline which must be met and you're the only fool that can get the job done.

You are The Person Who Can't Be Sick Right Now.  Well, you are sick.  Really sick.  You're running a fever, sweating like a Tour de France competitor and you're blowing your nose or coughing in a way which makes your co-workers flee.  Next to you, a zombie looks downright perky.

Let's be frank - you think you're The Person Who Can't Be Sick Right Now, but you're really being That Jerk Who Shows Up At The Office To Show Off How Hard They Work Who Actually Spreads The Plague.

No wonder your boss sends you home, you sanctimonious asshat.  Plus, Gina from Accounts is going to be furious when she falls ill a day or two later.  You'd better buy her a real fancy cocktail the next time after-work drinks roll around.

Oh yeah, the soup.  Since you are near death, this one's easy.  Raid your pantry.   Find some chicken stock - bouillon cubes or powder, it doesn't matter.  Make stock according to package instructions (most often, it's a 1 cube or 1 teaspoon to 1 litre of water).
Throw in some macaroni or other small pasta you've got hanging around.  Try not to perish.  Drink.  Go lie the f**k down, take whatever pills your doctor has prescribed and try not to sneeze on anything.

Cheat's Chicken Soup
You've called work to say you aren't coming in, because you feel like crap and you don't want to share your crap-making germs (you know how angry Gina can get).

You've slept in a little and have woken up feeling sore and gross.  You have to leave the house to get to the doctor anyway, so you may as well grab some stuff from the grocery store on the way back.

You need; 1 already-roasted chicken, 1 brown onion, a stick or two of celery with leaves, a carrot, a bay leaf, 3-5 peppercorns, a handful of fresh parsley (stalks and all), 1 chicken bouillon cube or 1 teaspoon powdered chicken stock.  Oh, and grab a loaf of white bread too.

You will; Strip the roasted meat and skin from the chicken in a slow and meditative fashion.  You're ill, remember?  Take your time.  Set aside.

Put the stripped carcass and bones in a large pot - add enough water to cover.  Add the bouillon cube or teaspoon of powdered stock.  Roughly chop the onion.  Add to the pot.  Chop the celery into bite sized pieces, cut the carrots into bite-sized pieces.  Roughly chop the parsley.  Add these to the pot.

Throw in the celery leaves, bay leaf, peppercorns and a damned good dash of salt and pepper.

Bring to the boil with the pot lid closed, then turn the heat down to the a simmer, leaving the lid open just enough so the whole thing doesn't boil over.

Set the timer for 1 hour.  Make yourself a sandwich with some of the chicken meat you've set aside and that loaf of white bread.  This will give you strength.

Go watch The View.  Or Ellen, or whatever dreck happens to occupy the world of daytime television.
When the timer goes off, tend to the soup.  Give it a taste.  Too bland?  Add more salt or stock powder, whatever's necessary.  This ain't no dinner party.  I've added fish sauce (only 1/4 teaspoon at a time, that stuff is potent) or light soy at times.
Remember, you are ill and this is a judgement-free zone.

Once you're happy with the way it tastes, turn off the heat.  Grab a bowl.  Put some chicken meat it in, ladle some soup on top.  Put some carrot and celery pieces in.  Eat.

Like those Hallmark cards say, "Get Well Soon!"

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