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Chicken Soup Time, If You Know What I Mean

We’ve been lucky this winter, and none of us have been sick, but the bill for our good fortune just came due. Nina vomited last Thursday. Pinta had a stomachache on Friday. Santa Maria was waylaid with a fever and congestion, and then all hozzawatza-broke loose Saturday night when most everyone was very ill.

I say most everyone, because, fingers-crossed, I seem to have escaped the worst of it. Or have I? I’m not sure. There’s a scene in the “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” which we watched Sunday afternoon while convalescing, in which the Fox and his family and all the other animals are flooded out of the tunnel in which they’ve been hiding. As the scene unfolds, you wonder—will they make it out alive?  I feel a bit the same way, wondering: will that norovirus or whatever the hozzawatza has been wrecking havoc on my family have a turn with me?

So I haven’t been cooking much. Santa Maria made her signature chicken soup a few days ago, and we’ve been living off it. I recommend it, whether you are sick or not: 

Chicken Soup

  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • One three-to-four-pound chicken
  • 1 lemon, halved and juiced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • pepper to taste

        Put the rice on to cook. Add a bay leaf or two and salt if desired.

        Heat some olive oil in a tall stock pot.
        Add the onions, carrots, and celery.
        Saute until the onions are translucent.
        Add the garlic and chili pepper.
        Saute until the garlic is soft.
        Rinse and add the whole chicken to the pot. 
        Add enough water to the pot to cover the chicken.
        Add the bay leaves, lemon halves and juice, and other spices.
        Cover and bring to a boil.
        Reduce to a simmer.
        Cook for about an hour, or until the chicken is cooked through.
        Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon. 
        Remove the lemon halves, chili pepper, and bay leaves.
        Pick the meat from the chicken and return to the soup. 
        Stir in the rice.

        Notes: Remove the chili pepper earlier if you want the soup less spicy. The soup freezes well.

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