CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE BOWL
by Robin Benzle
My life had plummeted to an all time low. Due to a bad investment in stocks, I was forced to sell one of the Bentleys, fire one of the gardeners - and I couldn’t even afford to redo the screening room in my summer villa in Tuscany. Well, at least in the tromp l’oil style I had so wanted. Then came the last straw. My new Versace shoes were too tight. I had to take them all the way back to the store and it was raining outside and my hair got damp and then I had to wait in line forever and they didn’t even have the right replacement size and so I bought these other Dior shoes I didn’t like nearly as much. All because my lady-in-waiting had the day off. Something about her daughter having her first baby, or some such thing. It was just terrible.
I sunk to such depths, I didn’t even feel like eating anymore. Well, my French chef’s usual European fusion cooking, anyway. My friends tried to cheer me up by surprising me with a lavish champagne and Perigord truffle party on a private island off the coast of Santorini, but that didn’t help. Even with the surprise visit by Antonio Bandaras and his ex-wife Melanie Griffith.
Then one day, when I didn’t know how I could bear life anymore without my herbal consultant (she moved), a chicken appeared at my door....the cutest, fluffiest, friendliest chicken I’d ever met. He made me laugh with all his crossing-the-road jokes and we soon became fast friends. I named him Feathers.
Feathers and I spent long afternoons together - walking in the park and sharing corn niblets, playing Duck Duck Goose in the meadow and pecking for bugs in the dirt - and at last, I felt a wonderful inner peace with myself. So you see, it took a simple, little creature with nothing but the feathers on his back to make me realize that the warmth and devotion of a good friendship will fill your life with riches. Not what you own.
Then Feathers made the mistake of telling me about a superb chicken soup recipe with veal meatballs and orzo pasta so I snapped his little neck, made the soup, marketed it world-wide and became richer than I had ever been before.
FEATHERS’ FANCY CHICKEN SOUP
with veal meatballs and orzo
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
8 cups chicken stock or broth
1 can (8 oz) diced tomatoes
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 1/2 lbs. lean, ground veal
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
8 ounces orzo or other small pasta
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
In a large soup pot, cook onion in melted butter until softened and just beginning to turn golden. Add chicken stock and diced tomatoes (juices and all). Bring to a simmer and add chicken pieces.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together veal and garlic. Form small (1”) meatballs. On a large spoon, add meatballs to soup. Simmer 15 minutes, uncovered. Stir in oregano, pasta and vinegar and simmer 10 more minutes, or until pasta is tender. Taste for seasonings. Serve with French bread and sweet butter.