Depression is a sour and familiar thing. I have been on steady decline this past winter, practically running straight down a mountainside before I finally broke down a few weeks ago. Depression is, as I said, familiar to me. I have spent my whole life oscillating back and forth between the two extremes and every emotion between them; I still consider depression the short straw in this game. I’m in a state right now where I feel like a magnet repelling everyone and everything, the closer you get to me the more sad and alone I feel. I’m in its tearful grip as I write this, not in good faith that I’ll feel better soon but with the knowledge that I’ve survived before and the pendulum always swings.
And so, I make soup. I make a stock that I cook for hours, its golden smell turning my apartment into a warm cocoon. I chop up all of the vegetables slowly and precisely, adding them one at a time, listening to the hiss of the stock as it hits the pan; method is the opposite of madness in this scenario. I was able to use the ample leftover chicken meat and bones from this recipe to make the stock and bulk of the finished soup. In the past I’ve kept chicken bones in the freezer for stock, you can poach 2 chicken breasts in the stock for shredding. I fall into something like The Nothing from Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story (what an astute metaphor on his behalf) when I think of anything except this very second, so it is helpful to have something as simple as chicken noodle soup as a project to keep my mind here in the present.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Chicken bones, you can accumulate these gradually in your freezer or use the bones from a whole roasted bird
Carrot, celery, leek, and onion ends and scraps, leftover roasted shallots if you have them on hand
A couple of garlic cloves, smashed
2 bay leaves
6 whole peppercorns
Sprigs of fresh thyme and parsley
12 cups of water
1. In a very large stock pot brown the chicken bones in the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the vegetables scraps, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, fresh thyme and parsley, and water.
2. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, halfway covered, for anywhere between 2-6 hours. Strain through a fine sieve and allow to cool. Skim the fat off the top of the stock and strain once more. Proceed to chicken noodle soup recipe or date and freeze for future use.
easy chicken noodle soup:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small white or yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 stalks of celery, sliced into thin half moons
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
6 cups chicken stock
1 1/2-2 cups shredded chicken
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1 cup egg noodles or broken spaghetti, cooked separately
1. Cook the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery in olive oil over medium heat until just beginning to soften.
2. Add the chicken stock, shredded chicken, bay leaves, and thyme. Simmer for 20 minutes before adding the parsley, lemon juice, black pepper, and noodles. Simmer for 5 more minutes, remove the bay leaves and serve while still piping hot.
I’ve been listening to lots of Cat Power and Mazzy Star, too. Music is integral to keeping you anchored when you feel anything but.
The Microphones – The Pull