A SOVEREIGN CURE FOR WHAT AILS YOU – TASTY, AS WELL

January 4 – January 10, 2021

Monday:                   Leftover Kraut with Celeriac/Potato Puree

Tuesday:                   Eggplant Parmesan / Salad

Wednesday:            Sheetpan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Fennel and Dressed Kale

Thursday:                 Chicken Rice Soup with Celery, Parsley and Lemon

Friday:                       Brown Sugar – Glazed Salmon with Roasted Squash App of Toasted Pita with Cheesy Babaganoush

Saturday:                  Pizza / Caesar Salad

Sunday:                     Cold Pizza starters /Roasted Sausages, Peppers and Onions over Polenta

 A SOVEREIGN CURE FOR WHAT AILS YOU – TASTY, AS WELL

Can things be said to be getting back to normal after the holidays?  Well, except for the plague, the attack on the Capitol, the Impeachment, and the tragic defeat of the Steelers – hold on, things won’t be getting back to normal for some time.

Which, by the way, is why you should continue to cook the most comforting food you can, get all of your news from newspapers instead of television,* and only worry about what you can control (no, Bill, you could not have made that pass to JuJu). 

*Marshall McLuhan was correct about hot and cool media. If you want to the news to shout at you, by all means watch television. I’ll settle dealing with the conversational reporting in my newspaper.

High on your list should be cooking the Chicken Rice Soup we cooked last week.  You can’t get something like this out of a can – but, on the other hand, it’s a simple recipe, though it will keep you too busy to watch television news or mope about the Steelers, or consider whether impeachment will help the country to heal or further divide it . . .and, unless you are cooking in a communal kitchen, you won’t contract Covid while doing so.

If that’s not enough to convince you to cook this substantial, heartwarming soup, please feel free to go sulk in a corner and eat your reconstituted ramen. 

But, if you do cook this soup, serve it with our new favorite bread – toasted, parmesan pita – and you will please yourself and any family and friends who happen to show up. 

Chicken Rice Soup with Celery, Parsley and Lemon

(adapted from NYT “At Home” section)

-served with Parmesan Pita Toast

Timing:                                                      50 minutes

Ingredients:                                                Serves 5

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

8 cups chicken broth or stock (the stock will make it more “chicken-y” – the broth, lighter in taste)

¾ cup jasmine rice (unrinsed)

4 stalks of celery – reserve the leaves and thinly slice the stalks

½ cup parsley leaves

1 teaspoon lemon zest

½ cup lemon juice (you might not need all of this)

Small garlic clove

1 tablespoon butter

Kosher salt

Prep:               

If you wish to serve the soup with parmesan pita toasts, heat the oven to 400 F, and get out butter to bring it closer to room temperature.                    

Set celery leaves aside and slice the stalks thinly.

Trim excess fat from chicken thighs

Measure out broth or stock

Measure out rice

Place 1 tablespoon of butter on a plate to begin to soften

Cook:

In a large Dutch oven or pot, combine broth, chicken, celery and rice.  Season with a bit of salt – you can add more to taste, later, then bring to a simmer over medium-high, reduce and simmer until the rice is soft and the chicken is cooked – 20 minutes up to 30 minutes.

In the meantime:

Finely chop the parsley leaves and lemon zest and up to ½ cup of celery leaves together.  Transfer to a small serving bowl and grate the clove of garlic into it.  Season with salt and stir to mix.  (Set aside for serving.)

If you wish to make Parmesan Pita Toast, quarter two or more pieces of pita, place on a sheet pan.  Butter lightly or brush with oil.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and then, more heavily, with grated parmesan.  Put these into the oven to bake when you have about 8 minutes before serving – and keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn!

When the chicken and rice are cooked, remove the thighs from the pot, put into a bowl and shred with two forks.  Remove any membranes or cartilage you see, then stir chicken back into soup which you have left to simmer.

Now remove the soup from the heat, stir in 1 tablespoon of butter and season to taste with salt (we used pepper as well).  Add the lemon juice a bit at a time to taste – it will brighten the soup, but you may not want it to become very lemony (we don’t mind).

Divide the soup into serving bowls, top with the parsley, lemon zest mixture and, if you like, serve with parmesan pita toasts.