Kinda, Sorta, Snowed in

Portland got about 14 inches of snow the other day. The day after it snowed we were supposed to depart on a four-day getaway to our second-favorite state park on the Oregon’s southern coast. Combine the uncooperative weather with our cat needing daily meds that might be causing her to pee and poop in inappropriate places and we canceled the trip. Damn. Soup, simple soup, to the rescue.

soup ingredients

This is about as simple as dinner can get. In a large pot add some vegetable oil and a diced onion. Sauté until translucent. Add a couple minced or pressed cloves of garlic and cook until fragrant.

Open all the cans, dump everything into the pot along with the chicken stock. Go nuts with spices. I keep some Penzie’s dried jalapeños just for this occasion. Add the chicken breasts and bring to a gentle boil. After about 20-25 minutes remove the chicken. Once cool enough to handle shred the chicken, cover and set aside. Normally I sprinkle the shredded chicken with salt and maybe some chili powder to keep it company. You can also season the chicken, bake it and shred it. I might brown the chicken before sautéeing the onion. You just want to avoid boiling it until it’s dead and gives up all its flavor.

The Pioneer Woman adds a little cornmeal mixed with water once the soup has cooked a while. I’m not doing that tonight because I’ve got a can of gold hominy to bring the corn goodness, but it’s a great idea to add, as she puts it, “heft.”

Shortly before serving add some lime juice to pot along with some fresh cilantro.

For serving I like to mound some shredded chicken in a bowl and ladle the broth over the chicken. Add more cilantro. I’m going to add diced avocado to the bowls, too. You can certainly add the shredded chicken back to the pot, but I like keeping it separate until the end. We’ll also sprinkle some crushed tortilla chips for a bit of crunch.

Oh, the bread in the photograph was made the day we awoke to piles of snow. I used a no-knead recipe which sort of worked. It’s hard to make good rustic bread in a consumer oven that doesn’t get super-hot.