Something like hopping on a plane and almost immediately succumbing to excruciating stomach cramps and then classic and miserable flu symptoms is about the least fun I can think of. This unfortunate fate happened to Mr Firewall, and I have been trying everything in my amateur first-aid repertoire to help him get well and make him comfortable.
One bit was my first attempt to make standard chicken soup. I am not sure how I got to this stage in my life without ever having made basic chicken soup – it just never seemed like a priority. Not to add that it’s not really my favorite soup, and I rarely have chicken on hand. I didn’t even have a whole chicken – only boneless chicken breast, which is far from ideal for this kind of thing. This time, though, it seemed that when Mr Firewall felt like eating again, chicken soup would be just the right thing.
How did I do it?
Quickly sear both sides of two large chicken breasts in about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot. Remove chicken and set aside. Now you can either chop it into a few chunks to cook in the soup or cook thoroughly in another pot of boiling water to make it easy to shred.
I chopped up one red onion, one large shallot, one (cleaned) leek, two stalks of celery and two carrots and sauteed these in the pan in which I seared the chicken. Saute for about five minutes, stirring a couple of times during the process. At the very end, throw in about four thinly sliced cloves of garlic.
Add two cups of boiling water. In a separate glass, mix a half cup to one cup of boiling water with two chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes and about 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper – mix that into the sauteed veg mixture and let all simmer. Add the chicken now as well. Simmer for about 10 minutes. (If you are or have been cooking and shredding the chicken separately you can wait to add that until the last few minutes.)
After simmering, I threw the chicken in as well as about a quarter of a head of cabbage chopped into thin pieces as well as a handful of baby spinach, also roughly chopped. I also threw in two more cloves of thinly sliced garlic – and voilà – it turned out pretty well.
And everyone is feeling much better, thanks.