Soup. Soup soup soup. So at some point in my life, around 6 I believe, I decided that I don't like soup. And I stuck with that belief unquestioningly for the last 22 years or so. When ever soup came into my life, I would simply toss off the phrase "I don't like soup" and move on. I never even questioned it until recently. I was a person who didn't like soup. When I made the decision to start stretching my food boundaries, this is the type of thing I looked for in my life. Those places where I stated opinions with unflinching belief, but was completely unable to provide any sort of supporting data for it. I don't like soup. Really? Why? What is it about soup that I dislike? Did I have a bad experience with soup once? Did a soup once kidnap my dog? No? No answer for any of these? Hmm. Then I guess it is just about time to re-evaluate my beliefs about soup!
So, not only am I a picky eater, but I also tend to be a very rigid cook. My husband likes to call it "OCD cooking". If the recipe says, cook for 15 minutes and flip halfway through, I am setting the alarm for 7 minutes and thirty seconds so I know it is flipped halfway through. If the recipe says to cut something into 1 in pieces, you can bet that I am searching for a ruler! Soup doesn't really work like that. Soup is laid back. It goes with the flow. It is a dish based off of leftovers. OCD cooking and soup do not quite mix. Once I was able to accept that and let it go, I was able to really enjoy myself! It helped to be deathly ill. OCD cooking takes a lot of mental energy and I was lucky just to remain standing long enough to get everything on the stove! Also, we currently have a lull in our funds and poverty is a great initiator of innovation! Plus! For extra added fun! We just moved and a lot of kitchen things are still in boxes! So all in all, events were conspiring to make it the optimal moment for me to relax, let go, and make some tasty soup.
So the first thing I did was google cold-fighting foods. I wanted to make sure I had as much cold fighting firepower as I could get in there! And then I went on the hunt for an appropriate base recipe. I found it here! Soothing chicken soup with all the yummy traditional ingredients and a cold-fighting boost of spicy deliciousness added on top.
I started out by roasting the chicken. I used 4 chicken breasts, because I had 4 in the fridge that were likely to go bad soon. I patted then dry with paper towels and then coated them with olive oil and seasoned them with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. I put them on a rack over the top of a baking sheet. The oven I set on Broil and I put the chicken on the lower middle rack, about 8 inches from the broiler. They cooked for about 20 minutes. Once the first side had started to turn that perfect golden brown color, I flipped them to finish on the other side. Then I pulled them and set them in a bowl to cool. I poured the drippings from the pan into another bowl to add later to the broth.
Then it was veggie chopping time! I poured some olive oil into the pot and put in on the stove to warm while I grabbed my knife and destroyed some veggies!! I chopped up two smallish white onions, half of a red onion, some carrots (about 2 cups) and some celery (about 1 cup). I tossed those in the pot to soften and chopped up 3 smallish russet potatoes and set them aside. I minced 4 garlic cloves and set those aside as well. While the carrots, celery and onions were cooking, I shredded the chicken breasts. I like somewhat larger chunks of chicken, so I made the chunks about this size: