The situation is dire. I’ve been doing what retired guys do all day. Read. Write. Play golf. Drink beer. Play tennis. Flirt with women young enough to be my daughter, if I had a daughter.
Now my wife is on her way home from a hard day at work and I need to make supper so she won’t think I spent the day playing golf, tennis, etc. If you know my wife, don’t tell her about the etc. A little secret between kitchen freaks?
I search the refrig and pantry, open a bottle of delicious Italian white wine and have a couple of glasses. One more glass won’t be missed, if I save enough to cook with. Put another bottle of white wine in the frig.
Apron on! Getting down to business:
1 medium onion split, peeled and thinly sliced
2 good sized garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/4 pounds of boned, skinless chicken breasts – amount is not critical
40 oz box of organic chicken broth + 2 dry packets chicken broth (intensifies the flavor)
1 Red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 Cup dry white wine
1 1/2 pounds frozen mixed vegetables (I use the packets with small sliced potatoes included)
1 Can Mexican style stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 heaping Tablespoon McCormick’s Italian seasoning
1/2 Tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 Tablespoon powdered sage
Salt and pepper
Put a splash or two of oil in a medium frying pan and add a pat or two of butter. Set to low medium heat. When the butter melts, toss in the sliced onion and garlic. Keep an eye on the onion/garlic and stir often. Meanwhile, cut the chicken into one inch cubes. If you’re OCD and take out your ruler to measure the cubes, you will be not be offered wine or a spoon.
When the onions/garlic are just barely browning, take them off the heat and set aside.
In a good sized large pot or Dutch oven, add oil and butter (see above) and toss in the chicken. When the meat turns white on all sides, add the cup of wine and reduce the liquid to half. Now add the onions, red bell pepper, the chicken broth + packets, and all the herbs. Stir, taste and add salt and pepper. Add the can of stewed Mexican style tomatoes. I pour in the juice and use my hands to break up the big chunks.
When the mixture comes to a boil, add the frozen vegetables. When the soup comes back to a boil, turn off the heat. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Cover.
Soup is on and ready to eat, but since my wife is not yet home, I‘ll have another glass of vino and let the soup flavors mellow while I join in the mellowing.
Ah, here she is! Time to pop another cork, spoon out the soup, add a big dollop of sour cream and a handful of avocado chunks. Just to impress, I’ll put a slice or two of buttered, crisped bread on the side of the bowls.
Me: So, how was your day, honey?
She: The usual and yours?
Me: I spent most of the day grocery shopping and in the kitchen.
She: I noticed your golf shoes are muddy…
Me: This wine is delicious! Need a refresh???