Ah, Monday. I can always tell when it's Sunday afternoon because I feel instantly less relaxed and begin preparing for the eventuality: Monday's coming.
I've talked about starting rehearsals for a play I'm directing called "Inspecting Carol," a mash-up of "Christmas Carol" and "Noises Off"--a small professional theatre company's trials and travails putting on an underrehearsed production of "Christmas Carol" in light of National Endowment for the Arts funding cuts, actors behaving badly and sets falling apart.
I always feel nervous when I start directing a show. If it doesn't come together, I'm ultimately responsible because it's my job to be the leader. (My low point yesterday was when I whined at my husband "Why do I have to be the leader?" The logical response would be that I have directed a dozen shows, but David knew better than to try logic). This all gets much better, mind you, when rehearsals actually start. Anticipation is a killer.
Yesterday afternoon, in advance of our first rehearsal, I combated my stress by cooking. What started as a slow-cooker chicken chile verde morphed as I realized I didn't have all the ingredients I needed. Instead, it became a smoky, flavorful and healthy soup of chicken chunks, Guajillo pepper flakes and onion, served over rice. In other words, the perfect take-to-work lunch.
|My lunch, sitting on the chaos that is my desk.|
The recipe originally called for a can of minced jalapeños and their juice. I used a whole dried Guajillo pepper, pounded in my mortar and pestle, which added the smoky flavor but not much heat. It takes a couple of minutes longer, but I would recommend using either a good dried pepper or fresh poblanos, depending on what you have available.Slow-Cooker Guajillo Chicken Soup
Adapted from Slow Cooker:FoodMadeFast
3 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch cubes
1 large dried Guajillo pepper, pounded in a mortar and pestle
2 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 large yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried fennel seeds
|Look at the pretty new backsplash!|
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Sour cream, chopped cilantro and white rice, for serving
In the pot of the slow cooker, add the chicken breast chunks and sprinkle the pepper over them. Then add the broth, onion, oregano, garlic and fennel seed.
|Here it is just going into the slow cooker. Not so appealingat this point--it gets better!|
|Now that's a better color. The soup took on the color of the pepper, along with a hit of color from the hot sauce.|
|There's no added fat in this soup; to keep it healthy, I served it with reduced-fat sour cream.|