Every now and then we need to take a step back, breathe in, exhale and just savor the moment. The past weekend was a flurry of baking, cooking, putting up the Christmas tree and décors, and all. In spite of the busy schedule, we still needed to eat. I made it easy on myself by cooking a simple chicken tinola soup with sotanghon noodles.
In our household, 3 out of 4 family members love dark meat on chicken. But I try to please everyone so when I cook chicken I put a whole bird inside the large stock pot so that everyone is happy at meal times. Now that our sons don’t live at home and are not always here at meals, I am never sure what to do with the chicken breasts.
Last night, without hesitating, I put everything in the pot and made this favorite chicken soup stew. It didn’t take long for the broth to start bubbling so I lowered it to a slow simmer. I stirred the pot and the swirling, clear soup emitted savory aromas of ginger, garlic with hints of ‘patis’ (fish sauce). The longer I simmered this soup meal, the better it got. The chicken meat started to fall off the bone in shreds and uneven slivers. Soon I added the chayote chunks and the silky strings of sotanghon (cellophane noodles). The warmth of the soup coming from the stove soon enveloped the entire kitchen.
For each of us this holiday season, there will be a million and one real and unimagined demands on our time and energy. And that’s okay. But amidst the busy schedules, let’s allow ourselves the necessary rest and relaxation that is often elusive these days and difficult to find. One of the best ways to reward ourselves is to make simple, heartwarming soups and stews like this chicken tinola with clear, sotanghon noodles. Let’s give ourselves the rest we need to revitalize, to recharge and more importantly, to relish the joys of Christmas.