Sunday, February 17, 2013

Chili Spiced Mango for Sick Person's Pantry Chicken Soup

Trader Joe's Chile Spiced Mango
When I am sick but just able to get out of bed, Sick Person's Pantry Chicken Soup is my food of choice. Trader Joe's Chile Spiced Mango is the best addition to this that I've found in ages.

Trader Joe's Uncrystallized
Candied Ginger
I do exuberant impulse shopping at Trader Joe's. A month ago, I discovered Trader Joe's Uncrystallized Candied Ginger, which I put into the green tea that I drink all day, every day. When I went back to stock up, the Chile Spiced Mango jumped into my shopping cart.

Yesterday, as I was fighting a head cold, I made a version of Sick Person's Pantry Chicken Soup. While I had a rotisserie chicken in the fridge, I could have easily used frozen shrimp or tofu for the protein. Precise measurements are neither available nor required for people who are stumbling around in a kitchen with one eye open. Use what you have and don't fret.
Penzey's Chicken Soup Base
and Seasoning

Chicken stock or not? 

When you are well, you can make stock, otherwise use the can or box in your pantry. I always have Penzey's Chicken Soup Base and Seasoning in my refrigerator.

Rice or rice noodles? Or other noodles?

Adding a starch to this soup will depend on how you feel about eating more than clear soup. Only you can decide where in the continuum of not-well-at-all to healed-and-hungry you are.

Pantry Chicken Soup

Liquids (water, canned or boxed soup or stock). 
  • 1-inch knob of fresh ginger (or a piece of ginger from your freezer stash), cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • Carrot: 1/2 grated (eat the rest)
  • A whole jalapeno or serrano chile, cut in half with the seeds in if you like spicy soup
  • Trader Joe's Chili Spiced Mango: One or two cut into 1/2-inch strips, and then into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Fresh onion:  Three or four 1/2-inch slices cut into inch-long pieces
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (a nod to Pho)
  • A few grinds of fresh ground pepper
  • Rice, rice noodles, other noodles (optional)
  • Protein: Cooked Chicken, Frozen Shrimp, Tofu cut into squares

  1. Fill a saucepan with a lid  to two inches from the top with fresh, cold water and 1 heaping tablespoon of Penzeys' Chicken Soup Base, canned or boxed chicken broth or stock. Vegetarians: use vegetable stock. 
  2. Add the grated carrot, ginger slices, jalapeno or serrano, mango, onion, cinnamon, and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. (If you have pre-cooked chicken, add a few pieces in this step. It will boost the flavor and add some chicken fat, which all Jewish Mothers know is the key to chicken soup;s curative powers.)
  3. Optional starch:  After the soup has simmered for 20 or 30 minutes, add the rice or noodles. Cook them in the soup to absorb the flavors. Do not use another pan. You will have to wash it.
  4. After the rice and noodles are cooked, add the protein. Cooked chicken and tofu need just to warm through. Watch shrimp carefully. Rubbery shrimp will not make you feel better.
  5. Ladle into bowls. 

More options:

1/4 cup dried cherries added in Step 2 (for sweetness)
A dash of sesame oil to finish each bowl

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