Joss' Island
Let This Be a Lesson
Posted 9/12/2012 6:26:00 PM

I messed it up, and it’s all my fault.

I remember once, I cooked an amazing Guy Fieri recipe…I don’t even remember what it was, but I decided to read the reviews of the recipe online. I wanted to see if people agreed with me on the AMAZINGNESS of the recipe. Most people did, and it seemed like the only people who didn’t were the ones that did not follow the basics of the recipe.

I said to Rob “these people are complaining that this recipe didn’t turn out – but they didn’t even MAKE it right! How can you complain! What a bunch of fools!”

Then…it happened to me. I made the Grilled Chicken Tortellini Soup. Here’s the recipe:


    • Grilled Chicken
    • 5 lb chicken, cut into quarters
    • 1 Tbs kosher salt
    • 1 Tbs fresh ground black pepper
    • For Soup
    • 12 cups chicken stock, homemade if possible (recipe follows)
    • 2 Tbs olive oil
    • 2 cups leeks, diced
    • ½ cup shallot, diced
    • 2 14.5 oz cans cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
    • 4 Roma tomatoes, grilled and diced
    • 4 cups Swiss chard, cut into 1 inch pieces, loose pack
    • 1 6 oz package tortellini, sausage filling
    • 1 Tbs kosher salt
    • 1 Tbs freshly cracked black pepper
    • ¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
    • ¼ cup parmesan cheese


Preheat a grill to medium high, season the chicken pieces, including the back and neck, with salt and pepper. Grill until golden, about 15 minutes, do not worry about cooking completely thru, chicken will simmer in stock. Grill the Roma tomatoes, whole until just starting to blacken, about 10 minutes.

Heat the stock in a large stock pot. Remove chicken and tomatoes from the grill and add to the hot stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a strong simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove chicken to cool. Dice the tomatoes.

Heat a small skillet over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, when hot, add the leeks and sauté until just tender, add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove and add to the stock.

Remove the skin from the chicken and shred or chop into bite sized pieces. Add the tortellini, chicken, white beans, chard and tomatoes and bring to a low simmer.

Serve garnished with the Italian parsley and parmesan cheese.

Ok. The recipe calls for you to TAKE a 5lb chicken, cut it into quarters, grill it, then stick it in the stock with all it’s bones and stuff, take it OUT of the stock and then start taking it apart and then putting it back in.

This overwhelmed me. The idea of hacking up a chicken (or, I guess the butcher could do it…but still) grilling it BONES AND ALL (remember, I am a beginner at grilling) and then sticking it in the broth AND then – taking it out and dissecting it again was intimidating. My mother was visiting, and I could just hear her say “this is way too involved.”

So, I bought the chicken parts separately. I bought a packages of breasts and a package of thighs, added them up to 5lbs and went from there.

The first night I made the soup, Splash the midday guy was over for dinner. He watched my mother and I chop up the leeks and the Swiss Chard. He was intrigued by this use of unusual vegetables. I think it might have looked like we just run around cooking with these things day and night…but we don’t use them that much either (but we SHOULD because they are tasty, add good texture and cook up nicely)

But, as the soup cooked…and dinner got closer…I started to realize…it was going to have no taste…

As I assessed the ingredients…and looked into my boiling cauldron…I realized…I was in big trouble…I actually said, out loud, to my mother and Splash “this soup is going  to have no flavor” and before it was served, I added garlic and Italian herbs…to give it something.

So, we sat down for dinner…and I put a bunch of spices on the table for people to add to their meals…and we ate…and I was right… the soup had not taste. Splash is very sweet though…and never complained.

I then theorized that if we reheated the leftovers the NEXT night…maybe some taste would appear in the soup…you know…after it sat for a night or so.

So – the next night…we warmed up the soup…and again…no taste…and there was a TON of soup – I swore it GREW overnight!

Finally, my mom left on Sunday and she said “do you want this soup? Or can I take it home and dress it up a bit?” I said “Hey lady, it’s all yours” (that’s what I sometimes call her... “Lady”)

So, she took it home with her (it probably grew more in the car) and added small white potatoes, crushed tomatoes and some spices…and she said…it was delicious.

I actually told Guy in an interview we did a couple days later that the soup didn’t turn out…and I told him why…it was all my fault.

He told me that yes, the flavor comes from the bones…and to get flavor in your soup…you’ve gotta add the bones…then I had that Craig Morgan song “Still a Little Chicken Left on the Bone” stuck in my head for most of the day.

My friend Rose Marie (who had some of the “Soup with no Taste” the next night ) called after the interview and said she was amazed that I told Guy that the recipe didn’t work…but I think it was because I KNEW it wasn’t because the recipe was flawed. It’s because I turned into one of those people I was making fun of…who do not follow the key steps of making a recipe and then end up with a meal that doesn’t taste right.

Next up – Tortilla cakes! Let’s see if I can follow this one!


Posted By: Joss  

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