Roast Lemon Chicken Soup

I like to have a project. Many friends and readers have offered kind, virtual high-fives for finishing my book and shooting cooking/dancing videos while taking care of a newborn. And while I'd love to credit my work ethic, the truth is that I'm uncomfortable not having a project. This has become even clearer to me since I handed in the final draft of the book about ten days ago and have missed it like one misses his or her morning cup of coffee or nightly glass(es) of wine. Where's my project? I practically whine as I sit down at my computer in the morning, unsure of what to start working on next.
The other day, I read this great essay about sleep in which the writer's South African boyfriend says to her: "'You Americans don’t know how to rest... You rest only to work better.'"

"It’s true," she admits. "And it underpins our current obsession with sleep: We want to sleep more now not because we value sleep more on its own terms, but because we are so fixated on productivity."

Though I haven't struggled with insomnia since getting pregnant (major perk!), during these past ten days, with neither a job to report to nor a new writing project to immerse myself in, I have definitely felt fixated on productivity, or my lack thereof. Perhaps you're thinking: What about Teddy? Immerse yourself in that! And I definitely do; I'm head over heels for my three-month old sweetie pie, but I also love writing, creating things, and dancing to YouTube videos. (Plus, babies sleep a lot. Fact: Teddy's asleep right now.)

This isn't exactly new territory for me: not knowing how to rest. Or rather, not knowing how to rest without feeling guilty. Or without thinking about how this resting period is serving me, how it's ultimately helping me gear up for the next project.
One of the changes in Matt's and my life since Teddy was born is in the kinds of dinners we eat. Since Matt comes home around 7pm, I'm usually making dinner during Teddy's fussiest time of the day (between 6 and 8pm). And so, even though I used to make lots of simple weeknight meals, I make even simpler ones these days, e.g. baked sweet potatoes (with butter and salt), baguette slices, and a salad; or kimchi fried rice (which maybe doesn't sound simple but if you have kimchi on hand and a rice cooker, it comes together in minutes); or pre-made chicken sausages and onions.

But recently I've found myself craving meals with a bit more depth, meals that require more time to come together. Hence, this chicken noodle soup, which I made Saturday afternoon while Matt hung out with Teddy.

My go-to chicken soup recipe is one by Alice Waters, but I liked the sound of this one from Martha Stewart, which has you roasting a chicken with lemon slices and shallots and then adding the pan drippings to the simmering broth. I liked this idea because I haven't roasted a chicken in months and because I still have plenty of preserved lemons in my refrigerator and thought they would be a nice substitution for the called-for lemon slices. I also thought it would be pretty to throw some rainbow carrots on the roasting pan (and to switch out the called-for rice with classic egg noodles).

And as I suspected, the soup-making process was satisfying, as were the results. The soup is everything you'd expect from comforting, chicken noodle soup only with the addition of a bright, citrus-y note.

As for my cliched-American relationship with rest and work? I don't have a solution yet. Perhaps it will work itself out when we have baby number two and I'll be too exhausted to even read interesting essays that make me ponder this sort of thing?
Roast Lemon Chicken Soup adapted from Martha Stewart
serves 6

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 cups chicken stock
shredded chicken from Roast Lemon Chicken (recipe below)
Roast preserved lemon, onions, carrots, and pan juices from Roast Lemon Chicken
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 lb. dried wide egg noodles

Bring stock to a simmer in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, chop carrots and onions into bite-size-ish pieces. Add the shredded chicken, lemons, chopped carrots, chopped onions, and pan juices to the stock. Continue to simmer. Cook egg noodles according to packaging. Drain and add to the soup. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped parsley. Taste, adding more salt and pepper if needed.

Roast Lemon Chicken
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
2 chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on (As you can see, I also had four drumsticks on hand so added those to the pan as well.)
1 preserved lemon, chopped
1 yellow onion, sliced into four or five thick rounds
5 or 6 peeled whole carrots

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pour a couple of tablespoons of the olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Place half the chopped preserved lemon on top of the oil. Place the chicken on top of that and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Add the onion slices and carrots to the pan, making sure they're fairly coated in olive oil as well. Top everything with the rest of the chopped preserved lemon.

Roast everything for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Shred the chicken and set aside until you're ready to make the soup.
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Matthew said...

Maybe you, teddy, and I need a vacation?? xoxo

tannaz sassooni said...

dude, you wrote a book! amazing!

Ileana said...

Aw, Teddy's smile! He is so sweet. :)

Sara said...

That photo of Teddy is the best!

ann mccaskey said...

He is so sweet!

Karen said...

Cutest little smile, ever!

Eileen said...

This soup sounds just fantastic! As does the idea to actually value sleep. :) It's so hard to break out of certain cultural expectations, isn't it?

LD1 said...

That is the sweetest photo of Teddy! Wishing your a perfect guilt free nap this week. :)

Anonymous said...

OMG! I don't know what is yummier--the soup or that gorgeous baby! He's beautiful! You are truly blessed. :) Debbie S.

mliss said...

What a look of pure love! I'd never get anything done with that precious face around.

mliss said...

My son turned 37 years old today. I know some won't agree with me on this comment but you'll have the rest of your life for other projects, only a short time for the most important project of your life.

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Congrats on your book! Teddy is so adorable. And your soup looks amazing!

The Wednesday Chef said...


Amelia Morris said...

Yes! Apparently so. :)

Amelia Morris said...

Thank you guys so much for all the Teddy-love! It's one of my favorite photos of him YET. xox

Katherine {eggton} said...

I feel like you should submit this adorable picture of Teddy to one of those illustrated dictionaries for the word "snug." (Did you have one of those as a kid? I loved mine.)

Natasha said...

Omg, when does the book come out??! I can't WAIT to check it out.

FACT: Teddy is the cutest, possibly ever.

thefrancofly.com said...

What a cutie!

Thanks to my mom, I'm a huge fan of poultry carcase soups. Better served instead of explained. But she makes a bang-up Turkey soup after every Thanksgiving. And a terrific tortilla soup spruced up with sliced avocado and all the fixings!

Wishing you the balance to take everything in stride!

Amelia Morris said...

DONE and done.


Amelia Morris said...

thank YOU, Natasha!! And the book comes out next February. Teddy will be 1 by then. WTF?!

Sarah said...

I feel this. I feeeel this. And then I read buddhist books on just being...which is another way of getting around just being. Bah. You and Matt make amazingly beautiful babies.

Christina @ but i'm hungry said...

That soup sound amazing, and I, too, have some preserved lemons that are begging to be used, but... it's really hard to focus on soup when the adorable baby is staring at me. I'm due with #2 in another month and your pics are making me really impatient! ;)

Amelia Morris said...

aww, thank you, Sarah!!

Amelia Morris said...

congratulations!! I feel like I could talk about newborns all day long!

sarah said...

what a darling darling baby! and he looks like matt!

Anne Zimmerman said...

Make dinner in the morning. Seriously! Baby will be at his happiest and you'll spend the rest of the day feeling like you are seriously winning. I usually either start/prep or fully execute dinner between breakfast and lunch. It's actually pretty amazing the things you can serve at room temp, or that just need a bit of a warm up. And as Teddy gets older he will love watching you in the kitchen. This was a game changing development during the many weeks of 5-8PM fussing.

Shelley said...

Could be the happiest baby I've ever seen.

Kara said...

Uh-oh...that is a face I could not say no to! What a cutie.