(Chicken Noodle) Soup-er Trooper

I am lucky enough to come from a very loving family. I have in my life, or have had until a less fortunate time in life when they passed, two sets of grandparents, a set of great-grandparents, a fantastic mother and father, a “sister” who we were all lucky enough to get to know during her studies in the US, a wonderful brother-in-law, a slew of aunts, uncles, and cousins, all of Robert’s family, and, lastly, my only biological sister, Rachel.

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We went to the Enrique Iglasias concert in 2015 because we could think of no better way to spend the night than with a sexy Spanish man.

Rachel is the shit.  She is strong. She is crazy smart. She’s fun to be around. She’s sassy and spirited. She has talent up to wazoo. Sure, she’s beautiful, but she’s a hell of a lot more than that too.Rachel-Cade-Wedding-557

When I got divorced and didn’t have anywhere to go, my sister and brother-in-law welcomed me into their home.  It was the kindest most generous thing anyone has ever done for me.  There’s no way I could have gotten through such a hard time without their love and support.  I am constantly trying to find a way to repay their immense kindness.

Luckily, I have on a one up on her in the cooking front.  Our parents might have loved her longer, but I can tie the race with a good dessert for family get-togethers. I feel fairly confident that I am the better cook of the two of us (Sorry, Rae. Fair is fair.), for now. When you’ve got a sibling as amazing as my darling sister, it’s important to work what you’ve got. 😉

Up until recently, within the last few years, my darling sister, in all her beautiful, smart, sassy glory, sustained herself mostly on frozen pizzas. After she and my brother-in-law bought their house, things began to change. Slowly at first, but now the girl is turning into a bonafide home cook. Rachel can grill like a champ. If you visit her in the summer, ask her to make the grilled chicken caprese. It’s legit amazing.

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My high school Graduation, back in 2010.

It’s happened a few times where I’ll have her over for dinner and the recipe I make turns into a staple at her home.  Nothing fills me with more pride than being able to put a delicious meal into my family’s bellies, even if it’s through sharing a recipe via Kitten in the Kitchen. Rachel made a whole chicken in the Crockpot the other day, and so, obviously, it’s time for some chicken noodle soup. I teased that I would write this on my “Playing (Whole) Chicken” post, but I decided to push the recipe forward so that Rachel could have some fantastic soup.

If you plan on using store bought stock, scroll down to the part where I actually make the soup.

First things first. You need to make some stock. I did this in a pot, because I was home all day, but I’ve had just as much success making it in the Crockpot for an 8-10 hour setting on low.

Assemble your ingredients:

  • Chicken carcass, cooked
  • 4 carrots, with green tops if available
  • 3/4 onion, quartered
  • 5 garlic cloves, whole
  • 1 bay leaf20160122_111757

Prep your ingredients. Peel garlic, peel onion. Wash carrots and celery, cut off the heads and feet if necessary. I don’t bother peeling the carrots for stock because they’re just gong to be tossed out anyway. If you have any veggies that are starting to wilt and be past their prime, this is a great use for them. If you have carrots with tops, they make a fantastic stock. 20160122_112208

Put all of your ingredients into a large stock pot, order doesn’t matter. Fill your pot with water until all of your meat, bones, and produce is covered. Bring to a boil, then turn to low. Cover, and let simmer for a few hours.  I’ve learned the hard way it’s a good idea to cover your stock. If left uncovered, you need to keep filling the pot with water as it evaporates out. You lose a lot of depth of flavors that way.  No sense in working this hard just to have it vanquished by an uncovered pot. 20160122_112542

Now is a great time to do something productive. You could do laundry, wash the dishes, vacuum, whatever. While I did some of those activities, I mainly did the most productive thing of all: Cat cuddles & Netflix. Hey, someone’s gotta do it. A few episodes of your favorite show later (around 3 hours, give or take), your stock is ready to be handled.

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Like mother like daughter.

If you plan on turning this into soup right away, you can ignore the following procedure.  I had some time between the stock was done and when I needed to make dinner for when R got home.  Long enough to worry about the temperature of the stock. After it was done stewing, I immediately dumped a tray of ice cubes into the pot, and put it outside. (Remember, Minnesota in the middle of winter. It’s like putting it in the freezer.)  It’s hard to get stock to cool safely in an industrial kitchen, and even harder at home.  Stir it once an hour to keep the edges rotating; that’ll help it cool more evenly.  After two hours I divided it into two large mixing bowls, and put them back outside.  It was still steaming, but this seemed to do the trick so the stock could cool.  If you plan on having that waiting period between stock making and soup making, this process is so important. Keeping it in that medium warm state is bacteria heaven. Either keep it hot, or do your best to cool it down rapidly.

For your soup:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 of an onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 stalks celery
  • salt & pepper
  • parsley
  • oregano
  • paprika
  • thyme
  • a handful of pasta, I used a gluten-free rice pasta20160122_165737

Chop, peel, and wash your veggies accordingly.  Robert doesn’t care for onion, so I use less of that and more celery.  We both like carrots, so I use a hearty amount of them as well. Don’t throw away your celery greens, they’re so yummy.  The leaves have a really delicious delicate flavor.  Just chop them up and toss them in with your onion and carrots.20160122_170649

Melt your butter in the same pot you originally made your stock in on medium-high. Saute in the butter for about 4 minutes. Crush and mince the garlic, add and cook for an additional minute. Stir frequently so the veggies don’t stick to the bottom.

I choose to wait to strain my stock until now. Put a collindar or steam insert above your pot.  Slowly pour your stock into the strainer, making sure you don’t overflow the strainer.  One all the stock is in, you can start pulling all that delicious meat off all the bones.  It’s a little putzy and labor intensive, but totally worth the result. If you have any leftover chicken in the fridge from the whole chicken you roasted, you could certainly shred that and throw it in as well.  Reserve one ounce of cooled meat for the Cat.

Bring to a boil, and let it go for about 10 minutes.  Grab a handful of your favorite pasta, and break it in half so the noodles aren’t so long. Boil according to the package. In Jewish culture, it’s standard to boil your noodles separately and add them to the stock/veg mixture when you serve.  This results in a beautiful clear broth.  I subscribe to the lazier one pot method and cook my pasta in my stock.  This does cloud up the broth a bit, but it also thickens it.

I season my soup now, while it’s at a rolling boil. If you followed my recipe, you didn’t season your stock at all. I choose to do it this way so I can season my stock appropriately for dishes from all over the world.  Italian seasoning wouldn’t make sense in a Thai dish. With that being said, you’ll probably need a lot more salt than you think you will.  Use your best judgement, and taste it once the soup has cooled a bit.  Adjust the seasoning to taste.20160122_221717_001

 

DEEEELICIOUS.  Enjoy your soup!  Nothing warms up a cold winter day quite like a big bowl of chicken noodle.

For the stock:

  • Chicken carcass, cooked
  • 4 carrots, with green tops if available
  • 3/4 onion, quartered
  • 5 garlic cloves, whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Put all ingredients in a pot.
  2. Fill pot with water until all ingredients are covered.
  3. Bring to boil.
  4. Cover pot, and turn to low.
  5. Simmer for about 3 hours.
  6. Cool for use later, or use immediately.

 

For the Chicken Noodle Soup:

 

  • Stock, with chicken carcass OR store bought stock with cooked chicken
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 of an onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 stalks celery
  • salt & pepper
  • parsley
  • oregano
  • paprika
  • thyme
  • a handful of pasta, I used a gluten-free rice pasta
  1. Melt butter in large stock pot.
  2. Prep vegetables by peeling, dicing, and chopping as necessary.
  3. Saute veggies in butter for about 4 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, and saute for a minute longer.
  5. Strain stock into the stockpot, making sure to pull all meat into the pot, and discard all bones and cartilage.
  6. If adding any other chicken, shred and add to pot.
  7. Bring to rapid boil. Season to taste.
  8. Boil for about 10 minutes.
  9. Add pasta, and cook according to package.
  10. Let cook, and adjust seasoning as needed.

 

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