Once upon a time grandma made chicken soup almost good enough to cure cancer. It had a flavor that made you think it was distilled from everything in the world good, and if you had to, you could live off of it and nothing else. But these days few have the time to make such time consuming soups. I’m neither a devoted cook, nor one with the accumulated skills of a grandmother who has never heard of ‘instant.’ There are things I won’t even attempt to cook because they take too long, or involve tedious preparations. But at the same time, I like to prepare fresh and healthy meals as often as possible.
Today I had a hankering for chicken soup, but didn’t get home in time to prepare the soup one-hundred percent from scratch, starting with raw chicken and a pot of water. Grandma is probably shouting “No! No!” from her kitchen six feet under, but I decided to make what I call chicken soup for the lazy.
3 stalks of celery with the tops
1 large onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 can of navy beans
2 thirty-two ounce cartons of Progresso chicken broth
½ of a cooked chicken
4 cups of filtered water
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Zatarain’s Cajun Seasoning
Chop the onion, celery and carrots roughly. Slice the zucchini lengthwise, then into ¼ inch pieces. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion, celery, carrots and garlic to the pot and stir well. Allow the vegetables to cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring often. Pour the chicken broth over the vegetables and raise the heat a notch. Add the can of navy beans and the chicken. I prefer to leave the chicken in good sized chunks, a couple pieces still on the bone. Season with salt, pepper and a good sprinkle or two of the Zatarain’s. Put a lid on the pot, but not a complete seal. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes before adding the zucchini slices. Cook the soup for another 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve over Jasmine rice. This soup is good with garlic toast, but French bread might also be a good match.