alphabet chicken soup


I've been doing some very adult things recently - both thinking and doing. The opposite of all that is probably making alphabet soup - but I don't care. Life is about balance. And I'll be pretty well balanced for about 6 meals after this giant pot of child's soup.

This weekend was the first one in probably a month where nothing was happening. Not a thing. No games. No plans. Nothing on the calendar. It also happened to come after the longest week in awhile. Some of those events included: Eating this cake, Dinner at A4 in the South End and 6+ hrs driving to CT for the day. On Friday night, my brother and I were turned away from FOUR pizza places while attempting to order takeout.

So this weekend was about doing nothing. I putzed around with the family dog, made this again for Saturday dinner, played with my new camera at the beach, and made this soup. I feel pretty good about it. I didn't even have a BLT. This morning I feel like I saw sunrise for the first time in a week, the weather has just been so gray. All good signs for a good week.

A few things about this soup:
  • CARROTS // do you recognize them? Cause I grew them! Don't they look beautiful and wholesome?
  • ALPHABETS // I might have to put in too many letters - but I don't really care. Soup isn't exactly the place for measuring.
  • SPICY // Speaking of measuring, I definitely mixed up my spices. I meant to grab the paprika but accidentally grabbed the cayenne pepper. So my hearty dash of spice turned out to be slightly aggressive - but it actually worked out. I feel like it makes this soup a bit more adult. I took the edge off the spicy kick with a hefty dash of lemon juice.
  • RECIPE // I originally was following this recipe from Emeril Lagase ... and then after the cayenne pepper incident it all went out the window. So this recipe is pretty based on nothing except what I wanted to eat.
Here's how it goes.
  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add in two chicken breasts. Cook a few minutes each side until lightly brown. The goal isn't to cook them completely since they'll end up cooking in the soup.
  2. Pull the chicken and set aside. Add the onion, celery, carrots, tarragon, and cayenne pepper to the pot. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. While the veggies are cooking, roughly chop up the semi-cooked chicken.
  3. Add the chicken, chicken stock, pepper, squeeze of a lemon and bay leaf. Bring the whole pot to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 35 minutes. 
  4. Add the alphabet pasta and stir well. Simmer until the pasta is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Shopping List (based on this original recipe)
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
1/2 T tarragon
1/2 t cayenne pepper
2 T lemon juice
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup alphabet pasta

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