Last week I battled a brutal cold and sore throat. For days, I could barely muster enough energy to make a piece of toast, or a mug of a tea. Because it seems like everyone else I know is getting sick, too, I’d like to say that I firmly believe that this chicken consomme is what cured me. Kat and Jennifer, this one is for you.
Around 9am, I woke up with a blinding headache and a near inability to swallow. My boyfriend convinced me that chicken noodle soup would bring me back to life, so I stumbled to the kitchen, threw the bones from a roast chicken that I had saved, and I added whatever I could find in the refrigerator (diced carrots, baby leeks, a bundle of parsley, a quartered onion, whole garlic gloves, a knob of ginger), and a few things from the pantry (a pinch of black peppercorns, dried thyme, dried chili pepper, and bay leaf). I added three liters of water, and brought to a boil. Though I didn’t have an appetite at the time, by the time the simmering broth was done four hours later, I was finally ready for some soup.
I strained the broth three times to get a golden, clear liquid (not exactly a consomme, I realize, but the closest approximation I will arrive at while severely sick), and returned the chicken stock to the pot. I added one can of black beans, a teaspoon of cumin, more chili flakes, and a handful of orecchiette. The best touches came at the end: a handful of diced scallions, cilantro, more chili pepper, and a squeeze of lime. The soup was very light, yet rich in flavor; the spicy heat cleared up my stuffy nose, and the black beans gave me enough energy for the rest of the afternoon.