Ugh. What a weekend.
Have you ever had one of those weekends where you just have too much scheduled? Everyone has something that they want to do and to top it off there are things that just need to get done. That was how our weekend was. And then you get sick.
Really, it started as early as Wednesday.
Wednesday was our Anniversary. We started the day by going out to breakfast, which was really nice. My husband and I love having breakfast together, especially when someone else cooks it. Since we are both self-employed, breakfast is our “us” time most days. After we drop the kids off at school we can spend that time catching up from the day before, discussing the world, brainstorming ideas, and eating delicious food. One hour of adult chit-chat before starting the slow decline of the day from adulting into family time.
Since it was our anniversary we decided to go out to eat. We went to a place near the kids’ school that we go to often. Nothing should have been out of the ordinary. I need to preface the rest of this story with the fact that we went sugar-free for the month of September. Long story. Another time. So, that being said, we were celebrating, so my husband decided to splurge and get strawberry pancakes. Well, his tum-tum was not ready for all that sugar and he spent most of the morning, shall we say, out of sorts.
Thursday evening while I was at the restaurant I started getting lower back pain in my kidney area. I could hardly concentrate while driving home.
Thinking it might be a kidney stone, I spent the day Friday self-medicating by drinking my weight in water and light beer to flush my system out (not doctor approved, btw, but my husband has had success with this method.) My husband made last-minute plans to go out with a friend Friday night, leaving me feeling bloated and buzzed while I fought with the kids over the swedish meatballs that they were afraid to try.
Saturday morning dawned with my husband leaving to spend the day with friends in the woods and me with a back ache and feeling like was going to pass out from exhaustion. At this point I planned to take a lazy day and do nothing. Until my boys reminded me that the neighborhood block party was that afternoon and we had, had, had to go. So my relaxing Saturday turned into chaos as we ran around getting supplies for our food donation, cooking, and attending the party. Around the time the party started my bowels decided to join the pandemonium reeking havoc on my body, thus sending me running home from the party every 20 minutes or so. I was literally counting the seconds until my husband got home and I could throw in the towel.
By Sunday I could not wait to do nothing. One the plus side I was feeling much better overall. On the negative, I spent about a third of the day in the bathroom. My mother-in-law took the kids for the whole day and I was able to spend the day leisurely meal prepping for the week and making dinner for my husband and I to share while we watched Outlander. It was the perfect recovery day. It needed to be ended with the perfect recovery food. Chicken soup.
When I was a kid I thought there was nothing better than Mrs. Grass’s Chicken Noodle Soup. You remember it, with the golden flavor egg? This quick cooking soup in a box was everything that comfort was made of. Warm, chickeny, salty, full of noodles. What more could you ask for?
My tastes have changed quite a bit since then and my palate has been expanded. I have dozens of recipes for chicken soup now. It is my go to medicine for just about every ailment. Being so completely flexible in its construction, chicken soup can be complimented with herbs and add-ins to suit any need or want. It is simply the best.
Since it was Outlander night I decided to make a Scottish classic, Cock-a-Leekie soup. While very simple in its construction, traditionally is takes several hours to make because you are making the broth from scratch. My version, however, cuts the cook time from about 3 hours to about an hour, making it ideal for cooking when you are feeling under the weather.
Cock-a-Leekie in a hurry
2 chicken legs, bone in, skin on
2 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
7 cups of chicken bone broth (homemade or store-bought)
4 large leeks, halved, rinsed, sliced and divided
6 whole cloves
parsley to garnish
- Lightly season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and place in the bottom of a medium to large pot.
- Add half of the leeks and all the broth. Place the whole cloves into a tea infuser or a piece of cheesecloth and add to the pot.
- Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
- Remove the cloves and chicken. Discard the cloves. Using a gravy separator remove the excess fat. I like to work in batches, pouring it into the separator, cooling it briefly in the fridge and then separating. Be sure to return any leeks that get filtered out to the pot.
- Once all of the broth is back in the pot, add the remaining leeks and the prunes. Return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for another 30 minutes until the leeks and prunes are tender.
- Remove skin from the chicken and discard. Remove the meat from the bone and add it back to the pot in the last 5 minutes of the simmer.
- Dish out, garnish with fresh parsley and serve with warm bread and butter–and a nice whisky.
Don’t let yourself be intimidated by the prunes. They add a wonderful thickness and subtle sweetness to the soup. You don’t have to eat them if you don’t want to, but it wouldn’t be Cock-a-Leekie without them.
When life gets overwhelming or I am feeling under the weather, or the cold weather has finally arrived, I find soup is the best meal on the market. It is easy, filling, nourishing, and relatively cheap. It can be whipped up out of just about anything and a bowl of soup is just the right convenience meal when all you want to do is curl up under a blanket and watch your favorite show.
Happy Monday everyone.