Recliner Soup


This in-between-seasons thing perplexes me. Jeans, or shorts? Hot or iced? Study, or lounge? It took a Day of Initiation and Recline to settle the flustration for me. Tie-dye leaves of golden brown and green rattled about. Gray-blue clouds drummed along. A wind with a little less pollen and a little more coolness whistled through my hair. It was enough: I gathered my semi-wilted produce, my stock and scarf (I think it was still around 60 degrees) and headed to my dad’s to make soup.

Decisive at last! The act of my dad happily eating said soup, in his recliner (leather almost as withered as my bell peppers), made this Recliner Soup.

And! It did not taste like leather.


I’m back in school. Anyone heard of “Imagined Communities”? Effin’ nationalism. It’s blowing my mind in the right ways and all, but, you know. Not exactly Oprah Book Club stuff.


I hope to revert back to the kitchen in these times of heavy-handed texts and embarrassing-impulses-to-take-pictures-of-the-pretty-campus-and-subsequent-scoffs-from-the-surrounding-high-horse-19-year-old-veterans-who-I-will-one-day-seek-vengeance-on-some-way-some-how.


And I don’t mean in a binge-eating kind of stress-coping, though that is likely to ensue. Ah, school! Talking and being active, reflective yet consciously restful does ease this chaos for me. Admittedly I often deny it in my stubborn moments.


These Washingtonian fall days provide at least the comforts of coziness in the self-satisfying forms of: scarves, walks, boots, books, umbrella-embarrassments (why don’t people move when you’re comin’ in hot?! It WILL prod you, and it WILL be awkward…………………….do I need to say it?) and, most delightedly, soup.


This is a hearty soup (yes the jar happened on my dad’s patio)! As you may have concluded from the large peppers and tomatoes and chicken in a sauna of savory broth. Exceptional with avocado and sourdough toast. Ohh, man, I am hungry.

Go forth! and recline.


Recliner Soup (not exactly how it sounds…)

serves 4-6

total time involved: about one hour, in the most indistinct sense of ‘about’


*a disclaimer: this, as many soups are, is a “model”. Now, I don’t flatter myself with this term (though my dad did say it was delicious). I merely mean that you can botch this, add roasted beets (weird, but whatever), omit, utter cantations, and it’ll probably be super tasty.

  • 1 chicken breast, thawed (I’ve learned that this is easily done with a trickle of running cold water in a bowl!)
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced, diced and ready to ROCK
  • 1 long, semi-fancy looking pepper. I will let you decide what this means.
  • 1 whole onion, the color of your choosing
  • 1 can (14 ish oz, I believe) of organic fire-roasted tomatoes OMG so good)
  • 3 cans (“) stock, be it veggie, chicken, beef, whathaveyou. Just not fish. I just…I don’t know. Fish stock? Eh.
  • a wee bit of water, something like half a can, if necessary
  • you know, I’d say three tablespoons olive oil, but it will probably turn into five
  • several cloves of garlic
  • pepper, cumin, salt, ack, you get it
  • I’ve realized that this is not a recipe and is instead a Suggested Grocery List
  • some potatoes, or pasta, or pre-soaked/canned beans (I quartered about four of those medium red spuds)
  • avocado for garnish and yayness
  • I actually used a few dashes of red pepper flakes, too
  • large pot (!)


  1. Yeah, I’m taking a stab at directions even after that pathetically unhelpful bit above. So, if you’re still with me, thaw out your chicken, or meat, or tofu, or a strange game, if you’re Krisla and like to make me feel weird.
  2. Turn your stove to low-medium-3-or-4-you-can-translate.
  3. Get yer olive oil heatin’ right nice.
  4. Chop, press, finely, coarsely, majestically process your garlic cloves and onion.
  5. Saute with olive (do not burn, mind you).
  6. Once frighteningly raw-looking and defrosted, cut chicken into cube-types. Meh. This was difficult for me, but I’m not a regular meat handler.
  7. Don’t burn the garlic, I tell ya.
  8. Toss chicken in with the now-magnificent-source-of-sweet-aromas-in-your-home.
  9. Saute as well. Add red pepper flakes, cumin, salt, pepper, should you choose rightly.
  10. MATERS! Fire-roasted (I want to learn your ways), yeht-eh.
  11. Let this mixture stew a little on a more medium-medium heat (5/6/7).
  12. Add stock! Then potatoes. The idea with soup (if there is just one) is to add your produce in order of cooking-times, i.e. carrots, spuds, broccoli (ish) before, say, bell peppers).
  13. Let simmer, or nearly boil for the starch.
  14. Add bell peppers (wink) and mystery pepper and other things you’ve got around the kitchen.
  15. Smell! Taste! Add seasonings and things according to your mood and flavor.
  16. Serve carefully (hot!)
  17. Garnish with cilantro, avocado, sour cream, greek yogurt (don’t question), pepper flakes, and eat with tortilla chips or toast! Or just sip away in your glorious recliner chair while you watch some sort of sports game.
  18. Happy fall!


-Bette Jane

P.S. I joined the smartphone world! Hello, next step to imagined globalization community!


4 thoughts on “Recliner Soup

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