Why Chicken Soup is Like Writing

Since it’s winter in many places, I thought I’d offer my much-respected recipe for Chicken Soup. But, this is supposed to be Book Writing Success Coach who shares writing tips and other writing-related items, you might say.

You’d be right.

However, having many talents and a really great Chicken Soup recipe, how can I be mean-spirited and not share it? For anyone who is not vegan or vegetarian (they can substitute many vegetables and add more garlic), you’ll find the recipe versatile and almost impossible to mess up.

Just like writing, making a bowl of soup requires ingredients and a unifying theme, like the chicken and the water.

In my soup, I add several carrots, garlic cloves, a celery stalk, salt and, of course, the chicken. Those soup items are like the characters, plot, setting, dialogue and vocabulary of writing. They add flavor, depth, texture, staying power, and some memorable tastes.

And, in my soup, I add two other things: dill weed (SECRET INGREDIENT ALERT!) right before I turn the temperature down to a simmer. And, once the soup is cooked, I add either rice or noodles (cooked separately) to the bowl as I serve it. You see, I hate soggy rice and noodles. This last-minute addition keeps them fresh and not waterlogged.

Keep things fresh, flavorful and worth asking for a second – third – fourth … bowl.

Shelley’s Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

Whole chicken – clean out giblets, visible fat pads, etc.

Large pot of water

3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 celery stalk

4-6 garlic cloves

salt to taste

1-2 tsps dill weed

Directions:

Put the chicken in a large part and cover with cold water. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of salt. Heat on medium-high flame. Start adding the prepared vegetables, except for the dill weed. Once the water reaches a boil, foam will rise to the surface. Skim the foam off, then add the dill weed. Turn the flame down to a simmer and let the soup cook for 1 ½ -2 hours until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken from the pot, pull the chicken meat off the bones, cut into small-medium pieces, add back to the soup. Taste and add more salt if needed.

If you want to make the soup skinnier, remove the surface fat. After refrigerating overnight, you can easily remove the fat on the surface. If any soup is left over after the first day, refrigerate. Serves many!

Separately: rice – 1 part; water – 2 parts

For white rice (brown is better and takes 45 minutes), heat water. When starting to boil, add rice, give it one quick stir. Then, cover and turn flame/heat to low. Let cook 20 minutes. When you take off the pot lid, if the rice will not shift around when you tilt the pot, it is done. Cover and let it finish steaming until you’re ready to serve the soup.

Or –

Noodles- follow the recipe for the type of noodles you prefer, but cook it al dente if you’re not going to add it to soup right away so it doesn’t get soggy. Hold in a little broth so it doesn’t dry out.

Enjoy your soup!  And, enjoy your writing!

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