Have you ever noticed the amazing things you can find at the bottom of a simple, unassuming little bowl of soup?
If you’ve ever sat down to a gloriously steaming, fragrant, brothy, and soothing bowl of liquid-y elixir when you’re hungry and hoping to be comforted and made cozy, and then taken pleasure in every little sip off the spoon as it slowly goes down ever-so easily and warms from within, then you most likely know what I speak of.
In those precious, golden moments when I’ve luxuriated in and savored a bowl of delectable soup in the quiet silence of my home in the middle of the day, when there’s no one else there but me, I find myself needing to just sit back for a few moments afterwards, in happy silence, there at my table, so that I can enjoy the experience of my heart being utterly filled with gratitude for what is in front of me, and reflect on the simple pleasure that I just had the opportunity to experience.
And what always gets me is that it’s only soup.
But “only soup” can mean everything in certain given moments, can’t it?
So very often I find love, nurture, and something to enliven my spirit in the bottom of my bowl of soup; I find quiet comfort, reflectiveness, inner peace, and a simple joy, as well.
And I also find a reminder that I am loved, and not alone.
I find that my Creator has given me the opportunity to participate, like a child, in the preparation of something delicious made from those things that He has left us with, that originate from Him, so that I may experience and taste His love and know that I am not forgotten.
And that is the essence of what I find at the bottom of each and every bowl of soup that I deliberately take into my body and consciously enjoy; it is the essence of my Creator, and a reminder that He has already provided.
All any of us need do is participate and partake in it all.
So may you, too, from time to time, find a moment to cherish a bit of precious peace and quiet as you partake in a bowl of divinely delicious soup, so that you can listen and see what your own heart will find there in the empty bowl once you have finished.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Zesty Chicken and Rice Soup with Lime and Cilantro
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4-6
• Canola oil
• 1 onion, diced small
• 4 carrots, peeled and diced small
• 3 celery ribs, diced small
• Black pepper
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• ½ teaspoon coriander
• ½ teaspoon chili powder
• Pinch cayenne pepper
• 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 5 cups chicken stock
• 3 – 3 ½ cups cooked, shredded chicken breast (*see note below)
• ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
• ½ corn kernels
• 1 teaspoon lime zest
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
• 3 cups cooked rice (I like to use jasmine for the additional flavor)
• Jalapeño slices, tortilla strips, and lime wedges, for garnish
(*To prepare the chicken breasts, use 2 split chicken breasts, bone-in and skin on, about 1 ½ pounds, total; sprinkle a couple of pinches of salt and pepper over them, and roast them at 400° for 40 minutes; once cool enough to handle, remove skin and discard bones, and shred the meat.)
-Place a medium-large soup pot over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 4 tablespoons of oil; once the oil gets hot, add in the onion, carrots, and celery, and saute for a 1-2 minutes.
-Add in a couple of good pinches of salt and black pepper, plus the cumin, coriander, chili powder, and pinch of cayenne pepper, and saute for a few more minutes, until the veggies begin to become tender.
-Stir in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic, add in the chicken stock.
-Bring the soup up to a rolling simmer, and then, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until veggies are tender.
-Finish the soup by adding in the shredded chicken breasts, peas, corn kernels, lime zest, lime juice, and chopped cilantro; check to see if any additional salt or pepper is needed.
-To serve, add some of the rice (about ½ cup of so) to the bottom of your bowl, and ladle over the hot soup; garnish with additional lime, some sliced jalapenos, or some crispy tortilla strips.