Moroccan Chicken Soup
As of 3/15/2020 (and subject to change without notice)
8 cups of water
2 cans (13 oz) ounces of white chicken meat, drained (or equivalent leftover rotisserie chicken, white or dark)
2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
2 cans garbanzo beans, drained
2 cans (4 oz) mushrooms, drained
8 artichoke hearts, halved or quartered (optional)
4 beef bouillon cubes, or two larger pieces (or equivalent)
2 tbsp dried onion flakes
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp sea salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp allspice, or cajun spice
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp slivered almonds or pine nuts, lightly browned in olive oil, as a garnish (optional)
Grated parmesan cheese, as a garnish (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover servings with browned almonds or pine nuts, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Note: this is a double recipe and makes a LOT of soup! Consider halving the ingredients…
Important!This recipe is inspired (and continuously tweaked) by a soup served at a Little Rock restaurant on the south side of Cantrell Road (I think it may have been Trio’s, in the Pavillion in the Park). The occasion was a wonderful meal and long conversation with Emmet and Lanell Barnes, Rex Enoch and his wife Nan, and of course my wife, Sherry Lynn.
Earlier that morning, I had lectured on “an American’s perspective on the Middle East, focusing on Palestine and Israel and the rise of Islamophobia” at First United Methodist Church in downtown Little Rock, on a bitterly cold Sunday, November 24, 2013. It wasn’t the sort of thing I normally volunteer for, but a friend, a nearby Palestinian-American professor had to suddenly cancel and asked me to take his place.
It’s hard to say no to someone who calls you “habibi” and begs… So I said yes, reluctantly. That morning I was already nervous. There were plenty of skeptics in the audience and this was probably going to be the first time they had heard an advocate for Palestine and Palestinians. I was going over my notes and about to be introduced when in walked the Barnes!
They had driven down from St. Louis to visit Rex and Nan, who is Lanell’s sister. They and their three sons were our Beirut neighbors for most of my early life. They lived in the apartment above ours and were more family than neighbors. And now, suddenly, here were two dear people who had lived the experiences I was about to talk about. In the end, it all worked out — they helped me get through those moments when emotions caught up with my narrative. There’s something about trying to describe life in decades-long refugee camps and the wanton slaughter of innocents that does that to me. Every damn time.
So that’s the story behind this recipe. I hope this soup brings you the same warmth and joy of that very special November day. Salam,
— Monsieur Jacques d’Nalgar, Dimanche 15 mars 2020 de l’ère commune
Top photo, taken this morning, of “my” Moroccan Chicken Soup.
Bottom photo, by Sherry Lynn, is (left to right) Lanell Barnes, moi, Emmet Barnes, and Nan Enoch. Note that I’m at least 30 pounds lighter and wearing my Islamic Jihad tie…