Ole Posole!

Outside, the sky is gunmetal gray and the temperature is barely older than me. If I still lived in Florida, I’d be sporting flip-flops and a tank top and considering whether to buy a Chocolate Elvis smoothie from Planet Smoothie. (If you don’t enjoy the ice-cold blend of chocolate, banana, and peanut butter, you are no doubt from another planet, maybe even one ironically called Smoothie.) But here in Maryland we’re in the midst of perfect soup weather, and since I fatefully named this blog after soup, I will honor its namesake by recommending one of my favorite recipes.

Being a teacher is emotional fulfilling and draining at the same time. Soup is only fulfilling, so it’s a great medicine to administer for the draining part. It’s warm, (usually) nutritious, and one recipe often makes a butt-load of extras you can save or freeze for another day. Butt-load is an actual measurement. It’s in the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living. Ok, I’m lying. I’ve never had time to do anything in the Martha Stewart Living magazine.

Real Simple magazine – that’s another story. I’ve made many of their recipes, all of which have turned out quite good. I’ve burned instant rice, instant potatoes, and managed to cook a pre-made rotisserie chicken WHILE IT WAS STILL PACKAGED, so “quite good” is a testament to RS’s recipes. One of my early favorites was a recipe for Chicken Posole that ran in the Oct. 2009 issue. Thanks to the magic of the interconnected tubes, here’s a link to the original recipe:

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/chicken-posole

A few notes and tweaks from my experience:

1) If you buy a pre-made rotisserie chicken, don’t put it in the oven to stay warm. Three hours later you will pre-heat your oven to make rolls and, well, you know how that ends up.

2) Purdue makes a great uncooked rotisserie chicken you can cook yourself. Doing so adds an extra step, but for only a few dollars more than the pre-cooked, you end up with a butt-load more chicken.

3) I am not keen on kick, at least in my food. (David Beckham? Kick away with your fine self. A Tribe Called Quest? Yes, you can kick it. My soup? No, thank you.) The crushed red pepper called for may only be 1/4 teaspoon, but I lowered it to about 1/8. My husband can add more if he wants.

4) Everything is better with pasta. And goat cheese, but there’s really no room for that in this recipe. I highly recommend adding pasta to give this soup a little more umph (here, being used as a synonym for carbohydrates). Wagon wheels are my favorite, but any shape is good. If you choose to add pasta, add more of the chicken stock because the pasta will soak that junk up like an alien enjoying his first Chocolate Elvis smoothie. You can cook the pasta in the soup or separately – your call.

5) I interpreted RS’s inclusion of the lime slice as their secret message to enjoy this soup with a Corona.

Let’s be real – the third nine weeks is a bitch. Everyone’s annoyed that winter break is over, teachers feel overwhelming pressure to cover material before the Testing Season opens, and spring break is a loooooong way off. Soup doesn’t solve any of those problems, but it should at least make you feel warm and full, which is a start. Enjoy!