Sometimes the last thing you want to do when you are sick is cook. However in my house, canned soup just isn’t an option. When I’m sick all I want is a soothing chicken broth, a light yet flavorful taste, and a reminder of home. That is why I have created a basic household list of things I need to create a simple soup without a trip to the supermarket. Because I don’t know about you but going out in the cold to pick up extra ingredients is very far from what I want to be doing when I come down with a flu.
1) chicken broth (cans/carton) or chicken bouillon
2) starch: egg noodles, penne, rice, or potatoes
3) veggies: frozen peas/edamame, carrots and celery (I usually have celery and carrots freshly on hand but if you don’t keep frozen carrots)
4) aromatics: garlic, onion, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorn, salt
Okay that seems like a lot. But these are just OPTIONS. These are the items to keep in your pantry: (canned chicken broth, chicken broth in a carton, or chicken bouillon (cubes or packets), egg noodles or your favorite starch (you like cous cous or brown rice, no problem), frozen veggies (if you don’t frequently stop by the grocery store–keep frozen peas/edamame/carrots in your freezer–they keep forever and give you options), chicken cutlets/breasts/even canned chicken works and herbs (always keep salt, pepper, bay leaf, and thyme in your cupboard).
Okay, truthfully the fresher you go the better the taste. If you use chicken stock that you have made in advance from chicken bones and mirepoix then you’ve got a great base. In leu of that I would go for the cartons of chicken broth. Also, fresh herbs really enhance flavor but I have had some wonderful results with dried herbs in leaner times. Also-if using canned goods–really beware of the salt you use to season. You may not need it at all and if you use bouillon you may even want to add a touch more water. Just taste as you go.
Putting it together:
combine your chicken broth (3L or 12 cups), with your sachet.
Sachet: several sprigs of thyme or 1 T of dried thyme, several sprigs of parsley or 1T dried, 1 T peppercorns, and 2 bayleafs (for all you college students out there who may not have cheese cloth to tie for a sachet–and trust me this may seem strange but it is easy to tie a coffee filter up to enclose these ingredients as well–you can tie it with string. Bring this to a boil then return to a simmer.
Add your celery and carrots and cook until they are tender. Next add your chicken pieces and cook till no longer pink.
In a separate pot boil your water with ample salt for pasta. Cook till just a hair short of finishing (as the pasta sits in the soup-it will finish cooking and soak up a lot of your broth to finish).
Finally, add your frozen peas to your chicken broth (I used edamame because it added protein and also because it was what I had). Remove your sachet, add your pasta, and serve with a large chunk of buttered bread. Enjoy.