FAN-FREAKIN'-TASTIC! This is probably one of the best soups I have ever made...and I am a lover of homemade soup. I have a very discriminating soup palate, and I can say with confidence...WOW! This was awesome. My husband used the word "delicious". I am literally blown away by how good this turned out. Frankly, I was not expecting such a good result. My son loved it, too. He kept saying, "um, um, um" as he ate it. I left the chicken in big bite-sized pieces, and the soup itself had body and substance. So, so, so good. I promised my husband that I would write the recipe down and make it part of our regular soup rotation. I guess I can omit the 'surprise' component of the recipe title, since it was such a hit. My dinner rolls (I used Rhodes brand frozen rolls) had risen and baked perfectly. They went really well with the soup,and were the perfect utensil for dunking. This meal was exactly what I was looking for to soothe my stuffy sinuses and sore throat. It had just the right amount of spices to help clear my head. I actually feel much better after eating it! I am not even going to mess with it or change anything about it. I am that happy with the results! If you like soup, I would recommend making this one.
One other note...this can easily be converted to a vegetarian soup if you were to use sliced crimini mushrooms in place of the chicken.
Also, I am going to post the written recipe next, for organizational purposes.