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March 4, 2009

As Winter Hangs On, It’s a Revolution With a Spoon


As the howling winds of winter break for a moment or two, our minds allow us to peek out from behind cover. As the land thaws, our imaginations naturally become more active. Naturally, some of our first thoughts are of the coming spring and of the coming summer.


One of those things that comes to mind is the picnic. We think of a warm summer afternoon, and slowly eating barbecued chicken and an accompanying side of baked beans. Perhaps there is a cob of corn in there, too.


Yet winter is not over. There is still waiting one or two nasty surprises that will hit when we are least suspecting. If you allow yourself to dream too much, to extend your thoughts and dreams of warm weather a little too far, the emotional price to you could be devastating. For the weaker among us, it is something that may be beyond their meager abilities to survive.


How, then, to rebel enough to give yourself strength but not so much that you literally risk everything?


The answer to all of life’s problems, including this one, is soup. In this case, let us call it picnic in a pot.


Our rebellion’s starting salvo is barbecued chicken. This will necessarily not be real barbecued chicken, since the grill is likely to be denied to us. It is barbecued chicken that is as simple as baking chicken pieces in the oven at 400 degrees until cooked all the way through. Naturally, this means also slathering on barbecue sauce so that it clings to the meat.


In a pot, sauté some chopped onions in olive oil. When these start to soften, turn down the heat and add minced garlic. Allow these to cook for a few minutes and add some canned kidney beans, including the sauce left in the can. Fill the can about two-thirds with water and add that, too. Finalize what is the broth with a can of tomato sauce.


Attend to the chicken. You may feel inclined to pick up a sticky drumstick, run outside, hold it aloft and declare to the sun and any of your neighbors unlucky to see you, that you will defy winter. Do not do this. Although a defiant bellow in the dying days of winter may feel good, you will need that chicken for other, more important endeavors.


Cut the chicken from any relevant bones involved, and also remove the skin. Dice the meat, add it to the pot and stir it in. Throw in at this time enough chili powder to give it a bit of heat, but not enough to overpower the barbecue sauce as the primary driver of taste.


As the final ingredient, add frozen corn, and allow the soup to cook down to a thickened consistency. It should be the kind of consistency you’d imagine from a soup made of barbecued chicken and baked beans. Revolt, with spoon in hand.


© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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