Friday, February 18, 2011

Winter can only mean one thing....its time to make sicky soup!

Our beefed up re-imagining of the classic chicken noodle soup

Late winter. There's snow on the ground. Frost on the windows. Black slush in the streets. Frozen dog pee on your bike. Sure it's a great season but, hey, there's some crap that comes along with the “winter wonderland” poetic butt wax as well. Like those bills that are starting to pile up from Xmas? Yeah. I bet you can't wait for summer.

Thing is we live in Tucson and shop using debit or cash. So I actually like late winter. Except for that recent deep freeze that killed everything in our garden. That sucked. Another aspect of late winter that everyone seems to be prone to these days is one annoying and drippy thing:

The common cold.

I mean for real! Everybody is sick right now. Most of my pals on Facebook have updates like “Sooo sick. Feel like crap. Watching 'The View'. Feel even worse.” Most of my co-workers seem to be ill as well, and not in the approved hip hop style either. My prep guy has to stop every five seconds to cough into his sleeve and a line guy didn't even show up because his sneezing and fever were so bad. Even my boss recently locked himself in the office, bald head covered in a wool cap, sucking down chicken noodle soup and hot lemon tea. And the guy hates tea.

Even She-Ra and I got a bit of the ick. Fortunately, me being the consummate hypochondriac that I am, I pop a lot of vitamins and drink a lot of Emergen-C, that and consume tons of water, so my “cold” only lasted a day. She-Ra, on the other hand...not so much. As I type this she is tucked into bed, eyes half mast, blowing her nose and coughing every few seconds. Poor thing. Luckily for us we have a recipe for the perfect get-well-soon sicky soup that you have to try next time you feel like garbage. Unless you feel like that now. Well better get someone to make this for you stat!

Here's what you're gonna need:

½ bulb of garlic (I am not fooling you, at least 6 to 10 cloves)

Pre grilled or baked chicken breast (the kind you find cooked and ready to go at your local deli or meat counter works really nice here, and is way easier)

A zucchini, diced or matchsticked

Yellow squash, sliced or matchsticked

A shallot, cut thin



Package of Buitoni tortellini, the spinach and plain variety works best here

2 large cans of chicken broth

Few hearty tablespoon fulls of Sriracha

Good pinch of Garlic Powder

More pinches of Dried minced onion

Salt and pepper to taste

    * Chicken bouillon: Only if you have too much stuff and you need to make more broth - chicken stock works perfect here as well if need be *

OK. Here's what you do.

Get out the biggest soup or stock pot you got and fill it full of the broth. If you're entire family is sick, as is/was the case with my line guy pal at work, you'll need to add a lot more broth and stock. Just eyeball the soup, it should be hearty but not too much nor too thin.

Next, add the garlic, shallot, Sriracha, salt, pepper, garlic powder and minced onion. Let that simmer on low for about 10-15 minutes, infusing the broth with the spicy garlicky awesomeness. When you lift up the lid, you're going to want to tear up a bit from the spices and garlic. That's the idea. This soup is not only delicious, but it'll sweat out the bad stuff. 

 (we had to add some chicken stock, which is what that bulbous lump in the middle is)

With your pre-cooked chicken, get out a fork and gently scrape the breast (or breasts depending on how big a pot of this stuff you wanna make) and shred it up making it into thin long pieces. Toss it all into the pot, stir it up and simmer for a few more minutes. Your broth should be at a good roiling, not a full on boil, like it should have some bubbling but not be all erupting volcano.

After a few more minutes, lets say 5 to 10, of simmering, the tortellini gets added. Like any other pasta, its a good idea to stir it for a minute or two to ensure that it doesn't all stick together. Once you are satisfied that you're not going to have blobs of pasta, kinda like when nachos stick together (mmmm, nachos) put the lid back on and simmer for another 6 or 7 minutes. 

Now it's time for the squash and zucchini. Get those essential vitamins in there and stir it all together.

The soup should look pretty hearty and smell amazing right about now. Literally, you can feel your nose open up and that annoying mucous character from that Mucinex commercial be all “Sicky soup? Oh Nooooooo...!” About a minute or two before serving, add in the spinach and kale, which could either be rough cut or even chopped depending on how you feel about amazingly good for you leafy greens and how you like them in soup. Us? We like big hunks of the stuff. Plus the spinach and kale will render down some so if you add say a cup of them each, the end result will be more like ½ or so. 


Once everything is cooked, combined and smelling like a pot o' spicy garlic yum, ladle it into a big bowl and serve it up to your favorite person who is feeling like absolute ass. Even if that person is you. Sure, standing up and “doing stuff” when you feel as if you've just been handed a Petri dish filled with major suckage, the type that makes you watch and appreciate afternoon telenovelas, is near impossible, this soup can be accomplished. But I highly suggest getting a good soul to whip this up for you. And the next time they feel like ass, you can do the same.

Well kids, I hope this recipe helps a little when you're feeling as if your head's about to cave in, your nose is basically a snot faucet, your throat is filled with gerbils and Tribbles (look it up) and the floor around you is covered in used tissues, because, well, it works for us. In fact, She-Ra is back at work and feeling better after eating yet another heaping bowl of this stuff. I'm pretty sure you'll be happy with the results.

Oh yeah, and wear lots of thick socks when you're sick. And watch Disney movies.

This combination always makes me feel better. I mean...with the soup too.

Feel better!