Cooking Chronicles: Lemon, Spinach, and Chicken Soup

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Mark was up at the capitol all day to encourage the state government to continue supporting the film incentives in New Mexico. Since he was already up there, I decided to meet him and our friends for dinner on the plaza. One of my favorite things about New Mexico is the Rail Runner, a train that travels between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. It is slowly adding more stops. Santa and Albuquerque are only about 45 minutes from each other, so the train allows people to commute back a forth (which tons of people do) without having to drive. Plus, it’s fun if you want a night out in another town!

I took the train up after school and met up with Mark and our friends at a bar on the plaza. Not only were our closest friends there, but we had a chance to meet some people from Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). It was great to see (or rather hear about) all the college programs, students, and faculty out supporting New Mexico film. Apparently, there was a wind machine, lights, and students making mini-films–all in front of the roundhouse!

While having drinks and eating dinner, there was entertainment…congo drums, mandolin, and a couple other instruments with singing. We soon realized that this amazing congo player was a child…only 11! He was amazing, he had the skills and the presence of a musician. He broke my heart when he looked at us with excitement and asked if we’d be there the following friday!

Vegged out most of the day yesterday…lazy Saturdays are becoming my MO.

It’s not exactly cold, but it’s not warm either and I know our soup days are numbered, so I wanted to make one while I still could.

Ingredients: (Note: I am a double batch–two pots, so you may want to half this.

10 cups of cooked chicken chunked

3 onions (it’s very onion-y, for those who do not like them!) chopped

3 garlic cloves chopped

6 quarts of broth (I only had 2 quarts of broth, so I made up the rest with the water I boiled the chicken in)

2 cups of rice

2 cups of chopped carrots

the juice of 5 lemons

1 1/2 bags of spinach

Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Cut the chicken (I used breasts) into chunks. Trick: if the chicken is slightly frozen, it makes it super easy to cut! Throw chicken into boiling water to cook. It should cook quickly since they are in such little pieces. Skim the fat (if any) and reserve the water for broth.

2. Cook onions and garlic in the soup pot until translucent.

3. Add the broth, chicken, rice, and carrots and cook over medium heat until boiling. Add salt and pepper as needed.

4. Squeeze the lemons into a measuring cup or bowl. Trick: I always buy firm lemons (not wanting them to be bad) and then I throw them on the ground to soften them for juicing. It’s a great way to get rid of any pent up aggression! Add the lemon juice to the soup and turn down heat to low.

5. Cook soup until rice is done. Add spinach in the last 5 minutes of cooking.

The soup turned out really good! I was worried for a while because the onions smelled…strong…when cooking. I think they were pretty ripe or something, but by the time they cooked in the soup they tasted fine. Lemon is such a strong, fresh flavor–perfect with the chicken and spinach. Poor Buster (my dog) is heartbroken. He is allergic to chicken and couldn’t sample today!

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