Walking through the produce section of the Rittenhouse Market, I was stopped by a woman holding her hand up like a traffic cop and waving it at me slightly. She looked to be in her early 60’s, had stylishly short dark hair and wore a black suit that would have impressed my fashionable grandmother.
“When a recipe calls for soup greens, what does that mean?”
I paused for a second before answering,
“That depends on the type of soup you’re making.”
“I need to make chicken soup.”
I asked if she was making soup with leftovers from a roasted chicken or from raw chicken and she shook her head.
“I have some cans of Manischewitz broth, which isn’t bad, and some boneless, skinless chicken breasts.”
At that point, I understood perfectly what she was trying to do and I walked her through the steps of making chicken soup in twenty minutes.
1 clove of garlic (or 2 if you are a big fan)
2 nice sized carrots (or 10 baby ones)
3 ribs of celery
1 bunch of cilantro or parsley
1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 or 2 boxes of chicken stock
1 cup of cooked rice or noodles (optional)
Chop the onion and garlic and start it sauting in a little olive oil in a large soup pot. Chop the carrots and celery into bit-sized pieces and add that to the pot. Give them a couple of minutes to soft and get some color and then pour in the stock (the amount depends on how much soup you want to make). While it is coming to a boil, thinly slice the chicken breasts against the grain. Once the liquid is boiling, drop four or five slices of chicken in at a time, stirring occasionally so that they don’t clump together. When all the chicken is in the pot, let it come to a slow boil for another 30 seconds (this is so you make sure to kill off any residual raw chicken bugs) and then turn it down to a simmer. Take a taste, add whatever seasonings you think it needs (salt, pepper, thyme, etc), put in the rice or noodles and it’s done. Garnish the bowls with some chopped parsley or cilantro and you’re ready to fake out your family .
The woman thanked me profusely and jokingly asked when I would be in the store next. I just smiled and she said in amazement, “I certainly asked the right person about soup greens, didn’t I?” I said that she had and that I was happy to help. She walked back towards the onions and I wished her a Happy New Year.