The Classics: Chicken Vegetable Soup and Walking Pneumonia

I am lucky to travel the world on tour with Beyonce. However, every single time I come home I manage to get sick. It’s no surprise seeing as how many time zones and parts of the world we go through in such little time. This time it’s walking pneumonia, which is just a fabulous stroll in the park.. not. The ONLY cool thing about it, is it makes me sound like a walking zombie..which is OK in my book since I’ve been addicted to “Plants vs Zombies” (it’s a game) thanks to my Rie Chan, Rie Tsuji.

Anywho, I’m making a classic Chicken Vegetable Soup today loaded with garlic and fresh veggies and herbs to combat the zombie germs inside me..

  • 4 large carrots roughly chopped into chunks (same size)
  • 2 stalks celery roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic crushed and peeled
  • 1 medium yellow onion quartered
  • 3 lbs skinless chicken bone in (thighs and drumsticks)
  • handful fresh thyme
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper

This is so easy to make (Thank God, since lifting a wooden spoon feels like a workout at this point). Combine all ingredients in a large pot with the exception of salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Fill with cold water until it reaches just above the ingredients. Bring to a low simmer. Cook until chicken falls off the bone. Remove chicken, remove all the bones. Add chicken back in. Season with salt, pepper. Serve. This takes about an hour.

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Let’s not forget to add a little hot sauce if you feel like an extra kick. Mine is super hot and made with cachaca from Belo Horizonte, Brazil..
 

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Bye South America, Hello New York! (roasted butternut squash soup)

Now that I’ve been home for a day or so, I’ve really been able to reflect on my tour to South America with Beyonce. I have to say, it was really rough! Not a lot of sleep, lots of traveling, the life of a musician. Fortunately, the pros outweighed the cons! Just the people alone that I met in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico were so beautiful and incredibly inspiring! I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone that I came across! You have a place in my heart forever and I’m so grateful for all of you! Here’s a little video after our last show in Puerto Rico:

One of the things that I was looking forward to most in New York (besides seeing my family of course) was the fall time! These 2 weeks will be the only fall I experience this year since we’ll be heading to Australia and New Zealand next! So the next 2 weeks are all about me making my favorite fall dishes! First one’s up!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Yield: serves 2

What you need:

  • 1 medium butternut squash peeled, deseeded, cubed (the smaller you cube it the faster it roasts)
  • 2 shallots halved
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp plain green yogurt (with extra for garnishing)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder

Method:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Season squash and shallots generously with salt and pepper. Toss in olive oil until coated evenly. Spread squash and shallots out evenly on a cookie sheet and bake until tender all the way through (30-45 minutes) flipping every once in a while. Meanwhile,  toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over med heat (watching carefully to not burn the nuts!). Once squash is tender put in a blender with 2 cups chicken stock and blend until it reaches a smooth consistency. Remove from blender and pour into a stock pot over medium heat. Stir in cardamom powder and greek yogurt. Pour into bowls and garnish with toasted pine nuts and a dollop of yogurt. Serve with a toasted baguette.

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Improvise

  • Try toasted almond slices instead of pine nuts
  • You can use heavy cream instead of greek yogurt
  • Try roasting ¬†root vegetables like parsnips or carrots as the soup base

This recipe is so warm and comforting. Perfect for the autumnal season in New York! All we need left is that air outside to get a little colder and crisper! (why does it still feel like summer, NY?!) The perfect song to go with this recipe is none other than, “Autumn in New York” performed by Joe Lovano and the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra (this is a throw back to my Jailyard days.. that’s me on baritone)

Ciao!

A