Friday, December 14, 2007

makin' leftover roasted chicken stew-ouup

it was around 5pm when i opened the fridge to see which foods i would combine for a leftovers from previous dinners dinner. it was one of those nights where i did not know what i wanted, had no particular bent for anything in particular and knew before opening the fridge door that what was in there was not really going to cut it.

so before opening the fridge door i decided that i would look at the leftovers not as leftovers but as fresh ingredients waiting for a new transformation. i would have at my reach fridge items, all of the great veggies ready for the picking in the garden and all items in pantry storage to work from. in a matter of moments, my outlook on the evening's dinner quickly switched from a half empty point of view to an over full point of view. cool, a new adventure! I love it.

first thing that caught my eye was the whole roasted chicken (what was left of it) on the top shelf. CHICKEN SOUP! i love chicken soup. my chicken soups are never the same. i don't write down their makings most often but they always taste fantastic and they always run out way too soon. cool, step one complete and that took what? less than 2 seconds? it's amazing how making a choice to be positive activates immediately. lesson taken.

step two - what else goes into the soup?
ok, i've got two bags of fresh green peppers, fresh chard in the yard, and onion on the dining room table, two lemons hanging with the onion, some fresh peas, two lovely carrots and a few uncooked potatoes left over from the thanksgiving ingredients. i've got herbs in the garden and in the pantry, i've got some dried mushrooms for rich flavor and i've one last can of stewed tomatoes. done!

out came the chicken and in it went into a pot with some water, chopped up dried mushrooms, peeled and sliced lemons, chopped onion, carrots and potatoes and a few shakes of parsley and marjoram from the pantry.

i was off to the garden, chard and fresh rosemary the target veggies. i collected the beauty's and returned to clean them up and get them in the pot. and that i did. the chard was beautiful. i have to say that i think chard is one of the most beautiful vegetables. it just it. the curled leaves, the colorful stocks, it's scale and arrangement on the root, lovely. in they went.

i then chopped the peppers, added a handful of wild rice, added a handful of pearled barley, added the can of stewed tomatoes, a good ten or twelve turns of the pepper grinder and a few dashes of sea salt. the brew was simmering pretty good now. the plan was to allow it to simmer until the meat fell from the chicken bones and that did not take long.

out came the chicken body, let that cool, remove chicken and bones, chicken back into the soup, bones to the side, taste for flavor, steep a bit longer so that flavors can mix and then out of the pan for dinner! yummy yummy yummy

admittedly though what began as soup turned into something more apt to be called a stew. i'm going to call it stew-ouup. why not? i made it and boy oh boy is it good. i toasted up some crusty bread, buttered it and was in heaven. took less than a full bowl to fill me up. this stuff is good. so once it cooled a bit i devided it up into two containers - one for the fridge and one for the freezer.

kind of amazing what you can come up with if you put your mind to it. also kind of amazing how small bits of a lot of things can transform themselves into to one super big hearty tastes oh so good kind of thing. the little bits might have fed a small sum of folk, the combination of this leftover roasted chicken stew-ouup will feed a whole lot. i'm pondering now who i might invite over to share a bowl or two. this is definitely a good friend soup.

never underestimate the power of your food-imagination.

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