Eatin’ Pants: Chicken Soup

Another recipe sparked by Jethro being ill, my chicken soup story is fraught with pain.

I decided to make chicken soup for Jethro (around the same time of the bewb cake) because he was sick and whiny and being stereotypically male about the entire situation.  (It’s okay, he doesn’t read my blog.  I KNOW, he’s a bad husband.)  And since he was being so TV sitcom about his cold, I decided to do so also and make him chicken soup.

Knowing my husband’s propensity to reject anything too “fancy”, I found a fairly simple recipe from Rachael Ray that didn’t look too out there.

Except for the popcorn she says to add as a garnish. Popcorn? Seriously, RayRay?

Do y’all ever think she’s just making shit up as she goes along? Or that she’s effing crazy?  “Then add oyster crackers! Or…or…popcorn! Or…Jolly Ranchers! Yeah, Jolly Ranchers! Have fun with it! Hey, Rancher sounds like Rachael!!  Rancher Rachael!  HAHAHHAHA!  EVOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!”

Anyway, Jethro was languishing on the couch, waiting for sweet oblivion or his NyQuil to kick in, whichever came first.  Like the dutiful wife that I am, I assembled ingredients and went to work.  The vegetables were chopped smaller than normally necessary to facilitate Jethro’s green thing phobia.  Chicken was cooked and diced and then simmered in  my homemade chicken stock. Yes, people, I’d even had homemade chicken stock in the freezer for just such an occasion.  This was serious chicken soup.

I took a bowl to Jethro and quietly went back to the kitchen to clean up.  Again, dutiful wife. I come back later, to see my soup still sitting in the bowl, though his cheese and bread sides had been consumed.  (Jethro does not turn down cheese or carbs.  Ever.)

I called him on it, but he plead illness, saying he had no appetite.  I could understand that, so I relented.  Culinary dignity dinged, but not damaged.

Until, over the next couple of days when HE STILL HAD NOT EATEN ANY OF IT.  Even though everybody knows soup is better the next day. Even when he was better and back at work, Jethro never ate any of my chicken soup.

My first chicken soup, made from scratch with homemade stock and lots of love, intended to banish his cold and warm his heart as well as his belly.

He didn’t eat it.

I’m still pissed.

On the upside, I get to bring this up at regular intervals for the rest of our life.  Our grandchildren will know the story of the uneaten chicken soup.

And now, moppets, you do too.

RR’s recipe is pretty basic and pretty good, so I don’t jack with it much.  My only variations is that I like to thicken the soup with cornstarch and then add a little yogurt a few minutes before finishing to make it thick and creamy. Make sure you add the cornstarch to warm water before adding it to the soup a little at a time.  And potato starch works also, as well as a grated potato or instant potato flakes.  Just be careful, it’s a fine line between lovely thick soup and chicken goop.  (Which can be tasty, but super gross looking.)  And you can know for damn sure  that Jethro eats it every time.

So let’s talk soup.  What’s your favorite?  Have any chicken soup variations?  Bonus points for everyone who shares the violence they would have inflicted on Jethro for not eating the soup.  (He ate a Lunchable the next day for lunch instead.  A LUNCHABLE.  It wasn’t even a fun one with a cookie or anything…)

33 comments on “Eatin’ Pants: Chicken Soup

  1. irisira
    February 15, 2011 at 7:10 am #

    I’ll talk soup in a minute, but can we talk Rachael Ray, first? She actually is from very near to where I grew up. One of the local kitsch markets (Suttons – it’s so delightfully New England yuppie, and it is not even New England) is OBSESSED with her because she’s from nearby. Anyway, I find it hilarious that she tells people that she’s from “Lake George” or “Saratoga Springs”, not because people actually have a vantage point for these towns, but because she wants to sound more yuppie. Truth? She’s from Lake Luzerne, a rednecky town between the two. It’s not as bad as it’s neighbor, Hadley (home to the infamous hamlet of “Allentown” which is aptly named … gross), but still. I am also a little annoyed that despite all of her money and her stupid cooking show, she can’t even invest in some broadcast performance lessons so she can ditch her nasally, rednecky Adirondack accent.


    Anyway …

    I tried to make chicken soup once, for a would-be boyfriend. He was recovering from a nasty case of Mono/Epstein-Barr, and, um, I needed the karma. I decided to modify to make chicken noodle with wild rice. Yum, right? Well I used this rice packet I had at home to add to the soup, and it thickened it so much that it turned into unrecognizable slop. I couldn’t even stir it! Which is just as well, because he was too sick to even return my calls. And, really, I didn’t need to be exposed to Mono any more than I already had been. 🙂

    • kindofamess
      February 15, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

      I kind of love that you just ranted about Rachael Ray. And I had the exact same experience with cornstarch and this chicken soup. I got cocky and just dumped a mess of it in and it went from soup to chicken-y Gak in like a minute and a half. *sigh* At least we try, right?

      • irisira
        February 21, 2011 at 11:27 am #

        Often, when I use a local colloquialism, C will say, “You sound like Rachael Ray right now,” and I fly into a RAGE. “I do NOT ‘sound like Rachael Ray!’ I sound like someone who grew up in the Southeastern Adirondacks!” Then he laughs.

        I don’t make fun of HIM when his Long Island accent comes out and he says things like “Idear” (as opposed to IDEA … there is no R at the end of it!!!). Maybe I should start. Harumph.

  2. irisira
    February 15, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    OH! One more thing: because he was sick and whiny and being stereotypically male about the entire situation

    I am a whiny ass when I am sick, I won’t lie. I moan and groan and bitch. (Unless I’m REALLY sick, in which case I spend a couple days in bed sleeping and don’t move. It’s only when I am a little bit sick that I whine, usually because I’m dragging my sick ass around doing shit, going to work, etc., and I am tired and cranky and, well, sick.) But, y’know, at least I admit to it.

    A few months ago, I was whining about being sick. C snaps back at me, “Oh, cut it out, will you? It’s just a cold!”

    Two days later. MOAN, GROAN, WHINE. “I don’t feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel good!”

    Just a cold, huh asshole?

    • kindofamess
      February 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

      YES. I’m more sympathetic when he’s not whiny. Then I know he’s REALLY sick.

      I might be a little cranky right now, however. He’s sick this week and I’m on day three of no sleep due to Snore-y McGee.

  3. d-day
    February 15, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    don’t even get me started on Rachael Ray. I don’t know why but I have always despised her, and if I’m honest it’s at least in part due to the way she spells her first name. I may or may not blame her every time someone misspells my name. ahem. also might have something to do with how my dad thinks she’s cute. gross.

    bad jethro!! for that he should get tackled to the floor and his face farted upon. sickness be damned. lunchables, honestly?

    • kindofamess
      February 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

      I feel about the same about Alyssa Milano. She spawned one of my nicknames, Alyssa Mulatto. *sigh*

      “he should get tackled to the floor and his face farted upon” I love you so much right now….

  4. Kristin
    February 15, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    That is a perfect impression of Rachel Ray. The woman is nuts. (Some of her recipes ARE good and easy, though. The shame!)

    My favorite soups are usually thicker – split pea, tomato & cream, squash, pumpkin, black bean (or, this particularly amazing pumpkin AND black bean one –, so I can’t be too helpful with the chicken soup, except that I like mine pretty plain when I’m sick – not too many noodles, just broth with some tiny mushy carrots and small pieces of chicken. Basically, anything that serves as a liquid meal, I am happy with. Including margaritas.

    • kindofamess
      February 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

      Smitten Kitchen!! I love her so much… And margaritas are definitely good for colds. Citrus, sanitzing properties of tequila, salt for dehyration or something…

    • irisira
      February 21, 2011 at 11:28 am #

      Some of them are good. And let’s face it, at least her recipes have (mostly) fresh ingredients, unlike her counterpart, The Semi-First Lady Sandra Lee.

  5. Jo
    February 15, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    If I cook for you, you eat. But I may or may not be bitchy because I made cake last night which C and his friends decided to make amusing nicknames for–and it was a DAMN GOOD CAKE, they just have no taste. Harrumph. “We’re going to call it Black Hole Cake because it has more mass than it should!” WTFever, jackalopes.

    We just made a fantastic curried lentil soup. I also love my grandma’s cheesy potato soup (she’s from Texas so it’s great!) and my mom’s taco soup.

    • kindofamess
      February 15, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

      Did you take away their cake because not only they were insulting it, but they were making SCIENCE JOKES about it and they were too dorky for cake? (I do kind love that, but they get points off for mocking said cake.)

      Mmm, cheesy potato soup. I make SK’s potato soup and it is AMAZING. Cheese and potatoes in soup form so you can shovel it in faster? Bliss.

  6. Robin
    February 15, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    I hate Rachael Ray with what seems to be an inappropriate vigor. Everything doesn’t need to be orange. And E-V-O-O is an expression I refuse to utter. I make my mom’s chicken soup and matzo balls. Except I use free range chicken and she doesn’t. Though it actually makes the soup worse. I made her soup EXACTLY as instructed several times (except for the different chicken) and couldn’t understand why it never tasted good. In depth discussion with the poultry man at Reading Terminal Market revealed that organic chicken is lower in fat than most commercial chicken. Which is good for some things, but not soup. Now I add chicken feet while it’s cooking. They terrify me, but they work. I will send you a pic of scary chicken feet (and the tiny terrible toenails on them!) next time I make soup. Oh. And Lunchables? Over homemade soup? Nooooo.

    • kindofamess
      February 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

      You know, I’ve heard that about chicken feet! Chow says to add them to stock for the gelatin to make it nice and thick.
      I’m scared of them. But please send me the photo! I like seeing pics of anything I would want to poke with a stick….

      • Emily Rae
        February 25, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

        I just used chicken feet to make stock (also used the green parts of leeks that everyone says to throw away). It was so think and rich it actually gelled when I put it in the fridge. I absolutely could not believe how flavorful the stock was — just chicken feet, leek greens, and some salt. I’ll send you a picture, Alyssa.

  7. cransell
    February 15, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    I love soup. I could eat it almost every day. I especially love an old school lentil soup, made with a ham bone. Corn Chowder is another favorite (the recipe in Joy of Cooking is really good). I make a mean Crab Bisque, the list goes on… Homemade Chicken Soup is awesome though. I don’t know what your husband was thinking turning up his nose at it. There’s really nothing better.

    • kindofamess
      February 15, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

      I once had a crab bisque that I wanted to smear all over myself it was THAT GOOD. But I’m wary of lentils, especially since I’m not too sure what they are. But i know they’re healthy, so I should break myself of the minor phobia. Any recommendations on a good recipe to start with??

      • cransell
        February 15, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

        This is the recipe I use. Copied down out of an old cook book and emailed to me by my mother. She’s a good one.

        German Lentil Soup (Linsensuppe)
        (from The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook, c. 1963)

        1 1-lb pkg. lentils
        1/4 lb. bacon, diced
        2 medium onions sliced
        2 medium carrots, diced
        2 qt. water
        1 cup sliced celery
        2 1/2 to 3 tsp. salt
        1/2 tsp pepper
        1/2 tsp dried thyme
        2 bay leaves
        1 large potato, pared
        1 ham bone (left from cooked shank)
        2 Tbsp. lemon juice

        Night before: Wash lentils. Soak overnight in cold water to cover.
        Early next day:
        1. Drain lentils. Then, in Dutch oven, saute diced bacon until golden. Now add sliced onions and diced carrots, and saute until onions are golden.
        2. Next, add lentils, water, sliced celery, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaves.
        3. Now, with medium grater, grate pared potato into lentil mixture; add ham bone.
        4. Simmer, covered, 3 hr., when lentils should be nice and tender. Remove bay leaves.
        5. Now, remove ham bone; cut all bits of meat from it, and return meat to soup.
        To serve at once, add lemon juice. Or refrigerate soup till next day; then add lemon juice, reheat and serve. Makes 9 1/2 cups, a luscious, hearty soup.

        It’s the ham bone that makes it. I really only make this once a year – after a holiday in which we ate ham. It’s not a pretty soup, but it is yummy enough to make you forget that lentils are good for you.

        • kindofamess
          February 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

          You are a goddess. And hello? It’s got bacon in it, it’s got to be amazing….

    • irisira
      February 21, 2011 at 11:32 am #

      I’m with you on this. Thanks for the Joy of Cooking tip. Our CSA gives us a ridiculous amount of corn each summer, and I need to find more things to do with it. Too much corn gives me a stomachache.

      (The corn chowder on Worst Cooks in America last night looked mighty tasty, too.)

      My FIL is NUTS about soup. My husband and he went to dinner at Raglan Road in Disney World back in November, and when asked how he liked his dinner, he responded, “It was great. All of my courses came in a bowl.”

  8. Meg Mooney
    February 15, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    Seriously, why won’t she just say Olive Oil?!?!?!?!? It kills me. Also, I learned a killer steak and dumpling stew. Bottle of red wine for the base (minus one glass obviously), add beef stock, saute steak cubes, add veggies till your head explodes, let it all simmer and get delicious, and finally, take a can of low-fat biscuits, make tiny balls, and poof! Instant dumplings! It’s a marvelous cheat.

    • kindofamess
      February 15, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

      That, plus the fact that she just throws ingredients in a hat and yanks them out and makes food out of them. “Blue Cheese Apricot Taffy! BRILLIANT!!”

      And this sounds so good. I made beef stew for the first time last month and I’m hooked. I almost want it to stay cold so I can eat it all the time.

    • kindofamess
      February 15, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

      Also? Sammies and Stoup.

      I want to punch her.

    • Sarah
      February 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

      Oh my god, that sounds amazing. Is this a recipe where you can get away with just throwing stuff in? Or is it one of those fancy I-have-to-make-measurements kind?

      If it’s the 2nd … can I have the recipe? Alyssa will thank you, too, I imagine.

  9. Sarah
    February 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    OK, now that I’ve requested recipes…

    I EFFING HATE RACHAEL RAY. To the point where I make certian to proclaim it loudly to Jon whenver we pass the kitchen section in Target. I swear, someone needs to wipe the insipid smile off her face and teach her REAL WORDS.


    As for the homemade soup going uneaten … there would have been hell to pay. Jon has this nasty habit of picking up “something to snack on” (read: an effing hamburger) whenver I ask him to go to the store for something when I’m cooking. Which leads to lots of death threats coming from my kitchen. He’s learning … slowly.

    My dad has this amazing veggie beef soup recipe … he’s made it as long as I can remember in his giant stock pot … and as a true soup, it gets better the longer it sits. Seriously, the entire 5 member family could eat it for a week. I MUST get that recipe. He also has a great chicken soup one … JUST CHICKEN AND NOODLES. Big fatty egg noodles. Chicken Slickers, baby!

    ::runs off to email dad for recipes::

    PS … I’ll share them. But I can GUARANTEE there will be no measurements. The last time he gave me a recipe he said “…and then add the carrots … um, as many as you want, I guess. You know how it should look.” I love cooking with my dad. He’s an honorary messy girl when it comes to the kitchen.

  10. Sharon
    February 15, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Here’s my mom’s chicken soup recipe. It’s pretty much the only thing I want to eat whenever I’m sick (and so I’ve been slowly campaigning for Jason to learn how to make it… because chicken soup that someone else makes for you always tastes better than soup you make for yourself, right?)

    1 whole chicken, pre-cut – rinse and remove skin/fat
    4-5 thin pieces of fresh ginger

    Bring water to a rapid boil in a large pot (use only as much water as you’ll need to cover the chicken). Once water is boiling, add chicken and ginger and cook for 5 minutes on high heat. Then reduce heat to medium and simmer until chicken is thoroughly cooked and broth turns slightly golden.

    So easy. Soooooo good.

    • Sharon
      February 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

      Whoops, forgot to add: salt to taste.

      My mom will sometimes add a sprinkling of Hon-dashi ( but I don’t know if it’s really all that necessary…

      • kindofamess
        February 16, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

        Oooo. I have hon-dashi on hand too, I bet that totally makes the dish…

    • kindofamess
      February 16, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

      YES to other people making food! I have also been known to take food off of Jethro’s plate because it also tastes better when it’s not yours.

      I’m definitely going to have to try this next time I make soup, I love chicken ginger anything.

      Plus, that reminds me of my favorite other soup, my ghetto Tom kha Gai. Chicken broth, coconut milk, tumeric, fish sauce, cayenne, ginger and lemongrass. Once simmering, add cooked chicken and lime juice/zest. Take out the lemongrass and add cilantro before eating. I like to stir in thick rice noodles to make it more of a meal, though it’s SO good without it.

  11. Brandi
    February 16, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    I’ve never actually made my own chicken soup. I think that’s one of those things I do need to master. My favorite to make right now is a butternut squash soup with apple and pear. It’s heavenly.

    • kindofamess
      February 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

      Butternut squash with apple and pear?? I’m skittish of fruit in soups, but that sounds gooooood….

  12. Lily
    February 25, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    So, I have to say that I can’t stand rachel ray either…but she’s not the first to put popcorn in her soups! In ecuador thats the garnish they put on all soups and its AMAZING. I got totally addicted to it for a summer, and then had to stop being my friends were making fun of me so much. So yes, very weird, but very delicious.

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