Chicken Soup for the Whole…week

You know the weird relative that asks for the ham bone after holiday meals? That’s me. I take it for my bean soup.
Soup happens to be one of my specialties. I love that I can get most of the meal finished before I leave for work in the morning and that when I come home the house smells like a properly cooked dinner. I love that I can dump all of my leftover vegetables in a big pot of soup and people will neither notice nor complain. I love that good soup tastes even better the second day.
For 12 of her 13 years Molly was right with me on the Souper-di-duper bandwagon. Then Vinnie moved out, leaving her an only child. The first time I made chicken soup for our post Vinnie family, we had Chicken Matzo Ball soup on Monday. On Tuesday we had Chicken Tortellini Soup and on Wednesday we ate Chicken Rice Soup. Same pot of soup, I just switched up the starch. And that wasn’t the first time this fall Molly ate the same meal three nights in a row. (Don’t even get her started on my husband’s recent wild hog extravaganza). A few weeks ago, Molly launched a campaign to get me to adjust my portions. I couldn’t do it. The lure of the leftover proved too powerful. This business of cooking once and covering three dinners is new to me and I am, you should pardon the phrase, eating it up.
Last night I made a thick chicken tortellini soup and appeased Molly by serving it with her favorite  Foccacia from Great Harvest Bread. I know she’ll enjoy it even more tonight.
Chicken Tortellini Soup
1 whole chicken
Water to cover
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped potatoes
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can stewed tomatoes (Molly would like me to mention that she really does not like stewed tomatoes and she suggests you leave them out. I agreed once to leave them out but I thought it left the soup a little too flat. You decide.)
1 can corn (drained)
1 can chicken broth
1 large package fresh tortellini
Fresh grated parmesan cheese
Rinse chicken and place in large pot. Cover with water and add salt. Heat to boiling. Turn temperature to low. Add carrots, potatoes, celery and onion. Cover and simmer several hours. Carefully remove cooked chicken from pot and set on plate to cool. Meanwhile, add both cans of tomatoes, corn and canned chicken broth to the pot. Remove skin from chicken and debone. Cut chicken into cubes. Return cubed chicken to the pot and allow soup to simmer. Just before serving, add tortellini directly to soup. Cook 7 to 10 minutes until tortellini is tender.
Ladle soup into your bowl and sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese.
Here’s my lonely chicken, salted nicely and just a little mortified
to be photographed all raw and in the buff.
I keep the carrots kind of chunky and I add several because
they’re pretty and they taste good.
I chop the potatoes chunky too because I don’t want the
carrots to feel bad.
Keep the onions and celery fat and happy too.
The trick is to lift the chicken out firmly but gently after it’s cooked.
It’s a fragile little poultry and if you aren’t careful it will fall apart in
the water and your children will have to pick bones out of their soup.
You should be very impressed. I am cooking and snapping
pictures at the same time here.
And here’s your Tortellini Soup, all dressed up for dinner.

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