Soup with Pomegranate and Chicken

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Fried chicken never disappoints. It’s quick to prepare, and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like it. Surely there must be such people. You can count on at least one person to share your distaste for fish, turnips (me), asparagus, parsnips, and artichokes. But I’ve never met somebody who didn’t like chicken.

Marinating the chicken improves upon its already high quality.

Although you farmers each have your own tastes, I find it easiest, to begin with a dead chicken. I ask the butcher for a freshly killed chicken, not one that has been frozen in a block of ice.

Whenever I ask around for a dead bird, someone is always willing to oblige. They’re giggling because I asked for a rotisserie chicken. I guess I’m just not willing to take any risks. The butcher may equate “fresh” with “alive.”

He could nod at one of the Mennonite women that come into the shop. The next second, I’d be holding a real, breathing bird.

Our next-door neighbors kept chickens when I was a kid. My aunt and uncle also had a lot of children and hens and a milk cow and a calf every year on their tiny farm. The way a chicken was cooked back then is etched in my memory. You snatched the wretched bird and severed its head. After that, it would flap around on the floor while spurting blood like a demon on its way to breakfast.

That did not seem appealing at all.

One of my friends used to work in a factory that processed chicken. Ropes served as a conveyor for the chickens. My guy had a very sharp knife that he used to grab a bird by the head and sever its jugular vein. That is, assuming hens have a talent for juggling. Even if it wasn’t bleeding excessively, it was nonetheless dipped into boiling water, stripped of its feathers and organs, and deemed “ready to cook.”

One day, I accompanied a friend as he slaughtered a couple of his backyard birds. With his pocket knife and like a “professional,” he strung up the two birds on the line. Then he threw them into a vat of water that he had scalded over a fire. The neighbor lady was shouting about how inhumane or chicken we were the whole time, and she eventually said, “I’m going to call the police!”

My pal warned her to back off because he was murdering the birds in a chicken-friendly manner. She wouldn’t stop shouting at us and go. But I’ll give that nosy old crab credit where credit is due; she never phoned the cops.

You finally understand why I insist on a “dead” chicken every time. I refuse to take any risks.

What? That’s it, no more chicken for you?

Marinating a chicken that has already died is the topic at hand. I’m sure at some point you’ve defrosted a few chicken breasts from a big bag you bought at Cosco®, tossed them in a bowl with some teriyaki sauce or orange juice, and let them marinate in the fridge overnight, for a few hours, or maybe you just tossed them into the frying pan.

That’s not the only approach, though.

I don’t trust the chicken to supply flavor, so I like to boil a whole chicken in chicken broth, season it, and let it stew until the meat falls from the bones.

As a fan of chicken noodle and chicken dumpling soups, I frequently incorporate chicken into my own culinary creations. If I’m feeling particularly uncomfortable, I’ll start with some new broth, then add some chicken, carrots, onion, and garlic before topping it all up with some Country Noodles.

Dropping bits of biscuit dough on top of the boiling soup, letting them simmer for a minute or two before covering the pot, and waiting approximately twenty minutes for the dumplings to cook is all I have to do when I want dumplings.

Please don’t lift the lid and release all that steam.

Gary Jennings is an author whose work I enjoy. Gary was born and reared in New Jersey, where he developed a deep passion for writing. Both he and I valued independent study over formal education.

Unlike me, Gary did not spend eight years at university. Soon after graduating, he joined a newspaper staff. We both served our country in Korea. The Bronze Star for heroism was awarded to him alone among all war correspondents.

Gary relocated to Mexico after the Korean War and produced a dozen or so stories for young readers. He was so taken with the Aztec culture that he penned his first historical fiction about them while he was there. That book is called Aztec.

Gary has passed away, therefore I won’t be getting his next novel anytime soon. This is why I keep returning to the classics.

I am currently reading his novel about Marco Polo’s life. The name of the hero is The Traveler. I got the idea to use pomegranate juice as a marinade for chicken there.

My wife and I have made juice our primary source of nutrition. You could call us juice fanatics or juice-o-attics. To stock up, we make a trip to Cosco®. In our garage, you can always find at least twenty gallons of juice.

We recently purchased a pomegranate juice that has a trace of Aça juice added to it. Chicken fried in pomegranate juice was something Marco Polo stated he had in Persia. I thought that was an excellent idea.

My recipe is as follows:

Soup with Pomegranate and Chicken

Get yourself a freshly butchered chicken. To make the chicken easy to debone, boil it in pomegranate juice until the meat is tender. As you carve up the meat, you can serve it with a spoonful of the pot’s remaining juice. You might as well savor every last drop of flavor.

I was becoming hungry at this point. With the chicken, I crafted a few sandwiches. Yum, yum.

The chicken’s taste skyrocketed the following day. I can’t explain it, but food that has been boiled for several hours ends up tasting even better the next day.

My wife blames the spread of flavorful ingredients throughout the chicken.

The word diffusion isn’t one that my wife would ever use, but I’m using it here because it appears in both my senior thesis and my dissertation.

It’s time for the Chicken Soup with Pomegranate.

The prep time for this is around 5 min. Open a can of carrots and dump both the carrots and the canning water into a saucepan. Put in a can of cream of mushroom soup.

You can use the same soup that I did, and the taste won’t be drastically altered. Cheese broccoli was what I used. I couldn’t be bothered to go out to the garage and get a can of cream of celery soup.

Simply add the chicken that has been marinated to the soup.

Whoops! The can of mushrooms I threw in there by accident.

The soup already has plenty of flavor. Flavor-wise, the Pomegranate Chicken wins out.

Absolutely amazing!

Honestly, you should just ask my wife.

To be fair, I did set aside part of the chicken for later use.

I don’t see why not.

John T. Jones, Ph.D. (tjbooks@hotmail.com), is a former editor of a prestigious international engineering magazine and a retired college professor and business executive. Visit his site for more information on Wealthy Affiliate University. Visit the store if you’re in need of a flagpole to raise the Stars and Stripes with pride.

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