Chicken Soup–for the Soul?

I hadn’t been planning on writing about this but was inspired to put “pen to paper” (fingers to keyboard & manipulate a “mouse”) by a posting at Stella’s Place here:

Cooking with vegetables – something new, something different

Stella asked “Are you cooking up any new dishes? Or an old favorite that will be new to us?”  So here is my reply:

Valerie Curren says:

March 12, 2018 at 6:37 am

  • I just made a large pot of soup based on items we had around–chicken scraps (cut from chicken breasts used in another recipe), a whole boneless chicken breast, & several pieces of chicken (legs & wing) that one of my kids brought home from their restaurant job & I’d had in the freezer.

    My son made several boxes of mac & cheese the other day & we’d saved that pasta water (that I’d later poured back in his mac & cheese pot to scrape off the flavorful residue). There was a partial can of chicken broth from a recipe my daughter made a few days ago & some veggie scraps. All of that went into a pot & cooked for an hour or so. I pulled all the solids from the pot & deboned, de-fatted, & de-grissled the meat giving scraps to a happy dog & cut the chicken into smallish pieces. I also broke the large bones in half & returned to the pot to fortify the stock with the marrow. From the veggie scraps I salvaged what was edible (like the soft interior of fibrous broccoli stems) & returned that to the pot.

    Then I added chopped fresh veggies that we had on hand (potato, carrot, & onion) & cooked until those were cooked through. When heating to serve I added a can each of corn, mushrooms, & diced tomatoes along with some chopped garlic. Then we threw in some wine left over in the fridge & cut up some spaghetti from a recent meal into bite size pieces & added it at the end just to heat through. I added a lot of garlic salt, freshly ground pepper, & various Italian spices (including rosemary, sage, thyme, & basil). We had this soup with grilled (meat for some &) cheese sandwiches. Most of my family really liked the soup as is. I thought it needed a bit more seasoning, but then perhaps my taste-buds are changing with age.

    This was completely experimental soup loosely inspired by some that my mom makes & the Olive Garden’s pasta fajoule (sp?). It’ll probably never be repeated exactly…& this is the closest I’ll come to recording it. It’s not as fanciful or flavorful as my grandma’s “garbage soup” made from various kitchen scraps she’d accumulated over time (everything she made was Amazing–my cooking is adequate–my husband is the food genius of our family!) but based on the principle of not letting usable food go to waste. I’d wanted to add celery but someone had pitched the few stalks we’d had left. I also wish I would have added some fresh garlic, but by that point my back hurt so I settled for the residue from the jar. This was the first pot of soup I’d ever made that was seasoned in a more Italian manner…One of twins just had his first bowl & said it was “really good”. He only added some garlic salt & crushed red pepper to his taste. I guess around here that constitutes success!

    from a bing.com image search for chicken soup

    So I’m attempting to add further info here & can’t figure out how to get out of the list format & align this writing to the left margin–sigh…I’m not at all tech savvy & definitely a work in progress.

    I just wanted to add that it felt good to provide a nourishing meal for my family, a labor of love in an area that is not really my strong suit.  It is a blessing that they all ended up enjoying this particular chicken soup more than usual & I’m glad that I was able to give my husband a break from meal prep for at least this one day.

    My mother used to call Chicken Soup “Jewish penicillin” & I think she got that term from some Jewish neighbors in her childhood Detroit home.  I remember reviewing both of my parents’ childhood neighbors on the 1940 Census & marveling at the ethnic mix of immigrants they lived amongst–what a glorious patchwork quilt of America.  Perhaps making chicken soup back in that WWII era was a way of taking care of the needs of others & that caring can extend forward from our forbears to our present day.  I made a physical pot of chicken soup but maybe it was just slightly beyond ministry in just the material plane & was actually in a small way Chicken Soup for my Family’s Soul…Blessings!

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