Boo Hoo Flu Soup

Well, I am feeling better, thank goodness. I'm still woozy enough to stick close to my tea and crackers, but solid food no longer looks like it's sprouted a mouth and started to mock me. One of the worst parts about having the flu and not living with family/close friends/significant other is that a lot of the "taking care" part falls squarely on your own muscle-fatigued shoulders (although one of my very nice roommates did offer to make a soup/medicine run). Yesterday, after faintly willing my grocery store to explode, dropping some food into my mouth, I finally crawled out of bed to get myself something to eat. Unfortunately, I'd been dreaming of soup, and the only thing remotely soup-like in my house was tap water (not even ramen!). With no cash for deliveries and no food options other than hot ham water, I pulled myself together enough to shuffle the half-block to my local grocery store.

Let me just say, I looked (and probably smelled?) like disaster incarnate. When you're sick you care only for your immediate comfort and so I was still wearing the pajamas and sweatshirt I'd been in for more than 24 hours (I washed my hands before I left, though, you germaphobes). My personal grooming consisted of running my hand over my hair before stuffing the whole thing into my sweatshirt hood. I felt like some medieval depiction of Pestilence, sending the peasants screaming into the field...


I made it to the market and, while I was there, decided to also pick up some ingredients for the week, in case this would be the only time I would get out of bed for the next few days. I knew I wanted some chicken noodle soup, but I also grabbed stuff for chili and grilled cheese--staples for the sick, lazy, and poor (that's meeee!!). I did look up some chicken soup recipes before I left, but was mostly unimpressed. And I don't really like the canned stuff, being either weak and anemic-looking shadows of chicken and noodles (a la Campbell's) or so chock full of veggies that you could eat it with a fork (that's you, Progresso). Instead, I got myself the things I like and was craving: chicken broth, chicken, potatoes, carrots, and noodles.

How did it turn out? Um, totally awesome. Despite the fact my lingering illness prevented me from eating more than 4 spoonfuls, I was pleased to craft a soup so good that I'll likely use it every time I get sick. Healthy, simple, and delicious, the soup is easy enough to make that I could put the whole thing together in less than 20 minutes, but more complex (and delicious) than anything from a can. I saved the rest, which will do dinner-duty tonight (along with, I'm guessing, some grilled cheese). Serves 1 healthy person, or 2 sick people, or 1 sick person twice.

1 large potato
1/2 chicken breast
1 can Campbell's condensed chicken broth
8-10 baby carrots
thin egg noodles
1/2 tablespoon rosemary
1/2 tablespoon thyme
1/2 tablespoon tarragon
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
Coffee filter and needle and thread (for bouquet garni)

Add 1 can water to condensed chicken broth and set to boil in a pot
Cut chicken into very small pieces--no bigger than a dime
Cut carrots (coins not spears)
Peel and dice potato
Add chicken, carrots, and potato to broth, boil and reduce to simmer
Make a bouquet garni: fill coffee filter with rosemary, thyme, tarragon, and garlic; pull ends together and secure with thread
Add bouquet garni to broth
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes
Add about 1 cup of egg noodles to broth, cook for 4-5 minutes
Remove from heat, let cool briefly, and serve, seasoned with pepper and salt to taste

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