In case you have not noticed, winter is here in Gunma. While the howling wind whistles in through the windows and the sun sinks down behind the horizon at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, no one wants to do anything except cuddle up in a quilt on the couch (or under the kosatsu) and eat something warm. Chicken and vegetable soup does wonders for the soul when it is cold outside, and for those of you living on your own for the first time, it is easy to make, too.
Although a whole chicken is preferred, a couple of pieces will do in a pinch. All you need is a medium-sized piece of chicken (one breast, two thighs, or whatever combination is available) and whatever vegetables are in your refrigerator. Make a stock with water, chicken, carrots, onions, and celery, then, once all is cooked together, add whatever else you want until all the vegetables are cooked. Eat it in front of your heater, under your kosatsu, or wrapped up in a blanket. You will be warm in no time.
This is what works for me:
- 6-8 cups of water
- One large piece of chicken
- 2 carrots, cut into 4 pieces
- 2 celery stalks, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 or 3 smallish Japanese potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 can tomatoes (or 2 diced tomatoes)
- Salt, pepper, spices to taste
Add water, chicken, carrots, celery and onion in a large pot. Heat to boiling, then simmer until chicken is done, about 20-25 minutes. Season. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook until done. Adjust seasonings if needed. Enjoy!