Once, when I was in high school, my brother’s girlfriend got sick. He made a pot of chicken soup for her and cut the carrots into little butterflies. Later, she made him some soup as well, but cut the carrots into little hearts. I pretty much thought they were geniuses, and have copied their idea here and there over the years. Today, my kids and I were all sick, and I knew we needed something a little extra special, so I made their chicken soup with the heart shaped carrots. Before you panic, there is a trick to making them. I’m going to blog à la Pioneer Woman for a minute, and show you how to do it, step by step. Peel three large, fat carrots. Then use a pairing knife to cut out a notch, all the way down the length of the carrot. Remove the little wedge.

Use a potato peeler to gently round off the pointed edges, like so:

And so. This forms the top of your heart, see?

Flip the carrot over, and shave off wide peels on each side of the bottom of the heart. Keep peeling until the two sides meet in a point. like this, to form the bottom of the heart. Once you’re done, you’ve basically made a long, cylindrical heart. Now all you need to do is cut it into slices. Repeat with the rest of the carrots.

Chicken Soup With Heart-shaped Carrots

1 tablespoon olive oil
three large carrots, cut into hearts (see instructions above)
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 stalks fresh thyme (optional)
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 large sage leaves (optional)
4 cups low sodium chicken stock (All-Natural Swanson Chicken Broth, or Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock are my favorites.)
2-3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
pinch cayenne pepper (use your own discretion)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (Poulet en Papillote is my favorite way to cook chicken breasts, and you can follow these instructions.)
1/2 pound small pasta, such as farfalle or rotini, cooked for about 1 minute fewer than the recommended cooking time
fresh parsley

1. In a large pot set over medium-low heat, combine olive oil, carrot hearts, diced onion, celery, thyme (both kinds), bay leaf, and sage. Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add in stock, a cup of water, and vinegar. Add in cayenne pepper, and bring to a boil. After about 20 minutes, check the soup for flavor, and add more water, salt and pepper, as necessary.

2. In each individual bowl, place the desired amount of chicken and pasta, cover with a ladle of the soup, and top with parsley.

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