It’s been a long week, and it’s not just because my experiments haven’t worked out as well as I wanted. Sometimes the motivation is there, and sometimes I get distracted too easily. But progress is being made, slowly but surely, toward inevitable graduation in the coming year. Yes, I’ve said that for all to hear… now the pressure is on! But even though the pressure is building, doesn’t mean that I don’t have time to try a few things in the kitchen, because it would be a real pity to let y’all down. And cooking can actually be a stress reliever… who knew?
I generally think of soups as a starter and not very filling. Stews on the other hand (the difference being the greater amount of solids) I can support, but I almost never make – just personal preference I suppose. But if you happen to have a bunch of vegetables, some broth and some chicken (pilfered from someone else’s freezer), soup or stew is about the easiest thing one can make, and it will last the whole week for lunches and dinners (whether you want to eat it or not). One of the things that Melissa has influenced in me is the amount of pepper that I now add to almost everything. I can’t say that it’s a great habit, but I do tend to like things spicy, so I won’t complain. In this recipe, the broth simmers down and gets absorbed by the pasta, so what you are left with is a highly concentrated hit of pepper. But like I said, broth is not my concern here. The vegetables and chicken after stewing are so flavorful, I really can’t think of anything to improve them. But what do I know… maybe I need suggestions from the resident soup expert? Señorita?
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 small onion
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 4-5 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 10-15 pearl onions, peeled
- 4 stalks celery, halved and chopped
- 3 small carrots, peeled, halved and chopped
- 10 oz frozen corn
- A few sprigs of fresh parsley, chiffonaded
- 2 tsp crushed black pepper
- Salt to taste (1-2 tsp)
- 4 oz pasta of your choice
- Splash of olive oil
- Roast chicken breasts in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until done, turning once or twice. Place aside to cool. In a large pot over medium heat, add a splash of olive oil and 1 small yellow onion, chopped finely. Stir and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. To the onion add tumeric, cumin, and peppercorns and stir over heat for about 1 minute. Add chicken broth and water to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add pearl onions, carrots, celery, and corn. Bring back to a simmer and stir in parsley and crushed black pepper. After 20 minutes, break up the cooled chicken with a fork or your hands and add to the pot. Simmer partially covered for another 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add salt to taste. Mix in dried pasta of your choice (I used rotini) and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Plate up and serve with a large piece of crusty bread.