chicken noodle soup

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i stayed home from work today to interview with a grad school (!) and study for an anatomy test. as i was walking home, paul called me to let me know he was on his way home early from work because he was sick! so i stopped at the grocery store on the way home to get ingredients for this soup. i really only had to buy an onion, some carrots, a potato, and about a pound and a half of chicken.

recipe adapted from smitten kitchen’s:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1.5 or more (up to 3) pounds chicken pieces of your choice, with skin and bones
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large carrot, diced (1/3-inch)
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced (1/3-inch) <– didn’t have celery this time
  • 3 ounces dried egg noodles, I prefer wide ones
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or flat-leaf parsley

Prepare broth: In a large (5-quart) heavy pot over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion and saute it for 3 to 4 minutes, until beginning to take on color at edges. Add the chicken pieces (if too crowded, can do this in two batches), making little wells in the onions so that the parts can touch the bottom of the pan directly. Cook chicken parts until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Add water, bay leaf, table salt and some freshly ground black pepper and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and skim any (sorry for lack of better term) scum that appears at the surface of the pot. Simmer pot gently, partially covered, for 20 minutes.

Transfer chicken parts to a plate to cool a bit before handling. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl (ideally, with a spout) and pour soup through it.

If your pot looks grimy and you’re fanatical about having a clear soup, you can give it a quick wash before returning the broth to the pot. You can remove a bit of fat at this point, if it looks necessary. Bring the broth back to a simmer.

You may be tempted at this point to taste it and add more salt. I know this because I do it every single time, adding another teaspoon, and every. single. time. I regret this as it is too salty in the end. So, proceed with any re-seasoning with caution.

To finish and serve: Add diced vegetables and simmer them until they’re firm-tender, about 5 minutes. Add dried noodles and cook them according to package directions, usually 6 to 9 minutes. While these simmer, remove the skin and chop the flesh from a couple pieces of chicken, only what you’re going to use. You won’t need all of it in the soup. I usually use the breasts first because they’re my least favorite and benefit the most from the extra moisture of the soup. The remaining parts can be slipped into an airtight bag in the fridge (I recommend leaving the skin on for retained moisture until needed) and used for chicken salad or the like over the next few days.

Once noodles have cooked, add chicken pieces just until they have rewarmed through (30 seconds) and ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with dill or parsley, dig in and let it fix everything that went wrong with your day.

 

 

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