It has been completely wild around here this week. Upon returning from our lovely, turkey-studded Thanksgiving, I was dumped into a frenzy of activity in preparation for not one but two videos, not one but two cocktail parties to prepare for and give (one of which was videotaped!) and multiple things to cook, recipes to write, and college apps to be sent.
As it absolutely should, everything came to a resounding halt when I successfully inveigled a most beloved, most heartsick pal to come over for a visit and a quick lunch. It had to be her ultimate comfort food, it had to be super quick (she’d be here in less than an hour) and I was totally unprepared.
In quickly thinking about what she might like, I remembered that her favorite thing in the world is homemade chicken noodle soup. No problem, except that I didn’t have any.
It’s at a time like this, that I’m reminded how really great it is to have a fully stocked pantry. After I started sautéing onions, carrots and celery I raced to the garden to see what was still in decent shape to save the day. Tons of sage and thyme were grabbed, chopped and added to the pot. In went a carton of organic chicken stock which (since I didn’t have time to thaw any real homemade) I was extremely pleased to find lurking behind the noodles. Thank goodness too, for the rotisserie chicken that had been purchased to get me through the crazy week, and gave me the necessary meat for my literally thrown together offering.
When she walked through the door, the house smelled deliciously of pure comfort and love. I fished out a good piece of cheddar, some crostini, and a box of tissues and we were ready to go. In so many ways, it was the high-point of my week.
This special lunch reminded me of a couple of important things. First, that no matter what else is going on, nothing should take precedence over our beloved friends and family. As the Beatles said, and it especially holds true in the kitchen I think,” All you need is love” . Furthermore, because I love to cook and I normally hold myself to a high-ish standard, I have the tendency to think that I have to produce meals of a high-ish quality. I have to say, that though I’d normally eschew using the carton stock for soup, I would have preferred to cook the chicken myself, it would have been nice to have some leeks, etc, etc., ultimately, it didn’t make one darn bit of difference. The soup was just the perfect thing for the moment, and the extra effort couldn’t have made it one bit better, since what was really needed, was just for me to be there, with a pot of soup on the stove, with my undivided attention and my love.
So, though I produced all sorts of glamorous and exotic things in my kitchen this week—some bound for lights, camera, action and a panoply of important guests—the most important thing I made this week was 20-minute chicken noodle soup.
20 Minute Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves 2 -3 hungry, sad people
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 tbs. olive oil
3 Tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, removed from stem
1 carton organic unsalted chicken broth
1 chicken breast from rotisserie chicken, skin removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 handfuls, wide egg noodles
Salt and pepper to taste
For this recipe, all quantities are approximate and substitutions and additions are encouraged!
In a medium saucepan, sauté onions, carrots and celery in olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Add sage and thyme and stir and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, chicken and noodles and cook until noodles are soft, about 8 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.