Sick as a Dog?

My friend Shawn has been reporting on Facebook to all of us about how sick he's been for days now. He's missed work during the day and his favorite televison shows at night because he just needs to sleep.

When he finally wakes up, he's going to be hungry but might still have a tender tummy. So, let me suggest that his spouse consider having a pot of this recipe waiting for the poor guy to sip on over the weekend. Scott? Are you reading this? And no cheating with a can of Campbells chicken noodle, too much sodium!

Nani's Chicken Soup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 whole medium onion
1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds), cut into pieces
Dash of salt
1 small bay leaf
4 large peeled and chopped tomatoes (1 16 oz can diced tomatoes)
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into carrot coins
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 cup soup pastina (The Silver Palate Cookbook, pasta glossary, page 67)
Ground black pepper and salt, to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves (1 tablespoon dried)

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large soup/stock pot. Lightly brown chicken pieces, about 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until chicken releases its juices, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to high; add 2 quarts water, dash of salt and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, then cover, reduce heat to low and barely simmer until chicken is cooked and broth is rich and flavorful, about half an hour. Remove chicken and set aside to cool enough to handle. Remove skin from breast, then remove meat from bones and cut or shred into bite-size pieces; discard skin and bones. Strain broth into a large bowl and discard any remaining chicken pieces and bones. Return broth to soup pot.

Peel whole onion then with a sharp knife score each end to allow for flavor added to the broth but without the onion falling apart. Add whole onion to pot along with carrot coins and celery. Simmer about 10 minutes until veggies are softened. Add chicken and tomatoes and continue simmering until vegetables are tender and flavors meld, about 10 minutes longer. Add pastina and cook until noodles are just tender, about 10 more minutes. Adjust seasonings, adding more salt, if necessary, and pepper, stir in parsley and serve with saltine crackers and ginger ale to help those tender tummies and sniffley noses feel better.

Yield: about 3 quarts; 6 to 8 servings. Stores well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days; reheat on low.

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