An old children’s nursery rhyme says, “The north wind doth blow and we shall have snow.” That must have been written for another area of our country, because we shall all be surprised if these winds bring snow. We would be pleased, however, if they did blow and we had a pot of Annie Ruth Yelton’s Yum Yum Chicken Soup, especially if it were accompanied by her Yum Yum Cornbread.
Annie Ruth is a member of First Baptist Church in Simpsonville, where Rev. Randy Harling has served as pastor for 16 years. The church is part of the Greenville Baptist Association. Simpsonville First Baptist was organized in 1888 and celebrated its 125th anniversary last year. The large, 4,300-member church has campuses at the Connector Church in Laurens, the Delta Church (primarily for young adults), and the Happy Trails Cowboy Church in Pelzer (which meets on Tuesday nights). At the main church, Simpsonville First Baptist has Sunday school, WMU and a men’s group. The youth groups meet on Sunday evening.
If there were any church secrets, Annie Ruth would know them. As part of the church staff, she served as minister of children for 10 years at Simpsonville First Baptist. At the other end of the age group, she currently leads the monthly worship service at Bel-Aire Assisted Living. She wrote two books for Bible skills — one for children and one for youth — and both have been translated into Spanish. The children’s book has been translated into Romanian as well. She has been on several mission trips.
A multi-talented person, in her spare time Annie Ruth enjoys doing watercolor painting, knitting and reading. A seasonal pleasure for her is “eggery,” which means she decorates egg shells.
She and her husband, Harold — retired from the South Carolina Department of Transportation and now Annie Ruth’s go-to guy who helps her with props, displays, etc., when she gives programs — have three children. David, a pharmacist, lives in Texas. John and his wife, Adina, and their three children — Caleb, Luke and Lidia — live in Greer. Elizabeth, the Yeltons’ youngest, lives in Oregon, where she is a linguist teaching English as a second language.
Annie Ruth gives her husband credit for the chicken soup recipe, especially the combination of spices he uses. She also suggests that the soup is a good keeper in the fridge and will be good two or three days after it is made. She tweaked the cornbread to make it the recipe it is, and I like the cornbread as much as the soup. Because it makes a skillet full, you will have leftovers from it also.
If you want a recipe for good chicken soup, and one that is easy to make, do try Annie Ruth’s. It is good anytime, but especially on a cold church day for … Sunday Dinner.
Yum Yum Chicken Soup
3 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium carrot, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 14-ounce can chicken broth
1 10 3/4-ounce can cream of chicken soup
1/2 soup can of water
1 12 1/2-ounce can cooked chicken breast with liquid
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon minced garlic
In a medium saucepan, combine the potatoes, carrot, onion, celery and chicken broth. Cook until vegetables are tender.
Add chicken soup and water. Add seasonings. Stir well to mix ingredients. Heat until bubbling, stirring frequently.
Add chicken breast with liquid from the can. Use stirring spoon to break chicken into small pieces. Stir soup well to thoroughly mix all ingredients. Heat to bubbling. Serve with Yum Yum Cornbread and enjoy!
Yum Yum Cornbread
2 cups yellow self-rising corn meal
1/4 cup canola oil, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1 1/4 cup milk (2 percent or fat free)
1 large egg, beaten slightly
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 cup medium cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a 10 1/2-inch iron skillet with the 2 tablespoons of canola oil and preheat in oven.
Mix together all other ingredients until thoroughly moistened. Pour into the hot skillet and put into oven.
Cook approximately 25 minutes, or until edges are brown and have separated from sides of pan. Top should look crusty and golden. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread should come out dry.
Slice immediately and serve with butter. Enjoy!