As much as I love to cook, I do often desire, that sometimes, someone, would cook for me, especially in those moments when I'm particularly tired to even think, yet too hungry to go without eating. That's when a egg and a piece of bread fits in perfect for me, but not for the two hungry beasts at home. Fortunately, my husband and son are not fussy eaters, they do, however, expect to find a decent meal when they get home. Not that bread and eggs isn't a decent meal, if it wasn't for the fact, that after two minutes they'd be hungry all over again.
A few weeks ago I found myself in this exact state of mind and on top of that, also with a flu. A soup is what I needed. It happens to be, that soup, just like bread and eggs, leaves my family with a grumbly stomach. For someone who is absolutely not in the mood to cook, nor wants to even think about it, and wishes that someone else would do the thinking and cooking, is not going to bother to please who wants what. As egoistically I may say.
It was going to be soup and nothing more than soup and I wasn't going to dedicate much time to it either.
It turned out that a simple lazy soup for the sick and tired moved towards a tastier direction. One ingredient brought to another, inspiration grew, and the soup was from there to become a delicious meal in a bowl. Signals of gratitude were launched through slurping sounds and with the call of second rounds I was certain, at that point, that it wasn't only a satisfying meal but one that keeps spirits high and proud for longer than the two minute timeframe.
SOUP FOR THREE, TWO OF WHICH ARE HUNGRY EATERS
Bring a pot of 1-1/2 litre of water to a boil, add a whole chicken breast, an onion, two tablespoons of concentrated tomato paste, some salt to taste and a tablespoon of fennel seeds. Slice a couple of carrots in julienne strips and add to the pot 20 minutes after the soup begins to boil. The carrots should remain firm. After 30 minutes total, remove the pot from the stove. Slice the chicken breast in strips, remove the carrots and portion in each bowl. Use a thin sieve and pour the broth through the sieve directly in each bowl. The sieve should retain the fennel seeds, onion and any floating bits. Just before serving, add some fresh greens directly in each bowl, this will allow the greens to soften but will also keep them firm and crunchy. You can use chard, like I did, or parsley and mint, or all of them, even a fresh spring onion if you please. Add a few more fennel seeds and a freshly sliced red hot pepper, more or less according to the amount of spiciness desired. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve. Each commensal will then be instructed to use a fork and knife to cut up the vegetables and chicken within the bowl in smaller pieces. I also added some noodles for my husband and son's portions. The noodles were cooked separately and added the last minute. My portion was kept simple like in the photo. Either way will be delicious and restoring.