There is something very freeing in acceptance. No matter the situation, letting go of that thing that bothers you down to the core, and changing your mindset just feels better. In one week I’ve had this conversation with three different people, in three entirely different scenarios.
Acceptance. When I reflected on the word it evoked memories of when our dog was a spry little pup. When Bosco first arrived, an adorable red bone coon hound puppy, I spent a lot of time trying to teach him how to behave and learn new tricks. Despite how disciplined I was while trying to teach him about his life as well mannered canine, I felt like a failure. He just couldn’t be perfect, he was forgetful or maybe obstinate. I was discouraged and wondered what I should do differently to achieve success. It wasn’t until a friend of mine said, “You know, dogs have simple minds, they are simple beings.” At that moment it clicked for me and I suddenly appreciated him for all that he was; it was part of his charm not his character flaw.
Earlier this week I decided to make a chicken soup, I knew I’d meet with the usual resistance from Prima who is predominantly anti-poultry. She conceptually hates and fears birds, so consuming them is ify at best in her culinary world. I had one of those moments when I thought to myself, if I am doing the cooking, I am going to make what I would like to eat. I knew she’d tolerate it if necessary, it was an opportunity to figure out how to entice her. And that is exactly what this recipe did. It drew her into her second bowl. She was amazed at how much she liked it, she let go of her fear and enjoyed the flavors.
This is one of those great week night recipes, it comes together quickly and unlike many soups the flavors don’t need a lot of time to set up. This untraditional chili soothes everything from head to toe. The supple shredded chicken contrasted with the firm texture of the beans and the creamy avocado texture will leave you craving ANOTHER bowl.
Avocado Chicken Chili
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 TBS olive oil
2 cups shredded chicken breasts*
4 cups chicken stock
2 (8 oz) cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3 TBS cilantro leaves, cleaned and rough chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 lemons, juiced
1 avocado per person (at least 3 for this recipe), peeled and chopped**
Tabasco, to taste
sour cream (optional)
In a pot, over medium heat, add olive oil and sweat the onions until slightly soft and fragrant. Add in the shredded chicken, garbanzo beans, salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is slightly fragrant. Combine broth and bring to a boil, stirring regularly. Reduce heat, add cilantro and simmer for 30 minutes. To thicken soup remove 1 cup of chili and mash beans, return to pot and mix well. Note: if you have a stick blender, insert into the pot and blend until desired thickness.
To serve, cut half of the avocado and place in serving bowl. Add lemon juice to the pot of chili and stir to combine; pour over chopped avocado. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, Tabasco and a leaf of cilantro.
*How to prepare chicken:
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add chicken breasts and cook until they begin to float. Remove chicken from water and set aside to cool. Once cooled, shred it into small pieces using two forks, one to hold the meat in place and the other to pull the chicken.
**How to safely cut an avocado:
To safely cut your avocado grip the avocado gently on one side with one hand. With a large, sharp knife in the other hand, cut the avocado lengthwise around the seed. Open the two halves to expose the pit. Make another cut, lengthwise on the avocado half that has the pit, cutting around the pit, exposing it so that it is easier to remove. A spoon can also be used to scoop out the pit. Never use a small sharp knife – it is not worth the risk of hurting yourself – trust me!