Chicken Soup

Ferdinand came home from school yesterday saying “you know Mom, everybody in the schoolyard had their sweaters off and were swinging them around–no coats, nothing.”

Some people feel a grip in their chest in the middle of the night when it sounds like someone is definitely breaking in, or maybe walking along the edge of a cliff with an overloaded backpack and a donkey with an ankle issue.  It’s nothing I can help–I’m afraid of the cold when it’s wearing Summer.  Monday it’s snowing outside and Tuesday the weather is calling to your child like some kind of Evil in a Good Grandma suit: “you don’t need a coat little boy, it’s practically summer, all warm and cozy here in the sunshine–you could practically swim…”  And before you know it the wind starts howling between the buttons of flimsy cotton onto innocent and unprotected skin, straight to the lungs. He swore to me that he would keep his sweater on.  And his coat.  Zipped.
I made chicken soup.  I added lime and thyme to tip my hat to the islands that are hot year round and still making chicken soup.  Poach a whole chicken breast on the bone with plenty of water, a splash of olive oil, a sprig of fresh thyme, a clove of garlic, an onion, half a carrot, half a celery stalk, a bay leaf, and a sprig of parsley.  Let this go very gently until the chicken is cooked through.  Let the chicken stay in its poaching liquid.

Saute one small onion, half a celery stalk, two carrots, and three small yukon gold potatoes with two sprigs of thyme and one of parsley in olive oil with a tiny bit of butter.  Give it a little salt and a grind of pepper.  If you wanted to make it spicey, you could add a few red pepper flakes (or a whole pepperoncino) at this point.  Add the stock you just made by poaching the chicken and simmer until the potatoes are tender.  The liquid should come not too far above the potatoes.  (I cut my carrots pretty small so that their tenderness coincides with the potatoes, cut just a tiny bit bigger.)  Spoon some of this into a bowl, along with some large shreds of chicken.  Add a spoonful of stock and taste for salt.  Give it a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and swirl in a tab of room temperature butter.

Feel the warmth.

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