Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chicken Soup for the Soul

We've all been hearing the endless horror stories of the 2013 flu season. I myself was struck down for three weeks (yes, 3!) with some crazy head and chest virus. So it comes as no real surprise that people are scrambling for soup. I've had several emails from friends and family asking for my chicken soup recipe specifically and I was pretty surprised to see I have like zero soup recipes posted! Shame on me. I know. I've also been a neglectful blogger. I'm telling you, being pregnany kind of rules your world for a while. But I'm back and I'm kicking off 2013 with soup for the soul. Chicken soup is magical and so easy to make. Honestly. And if you are not into making your own stock (which you should be because it is crazy easy people!) you can always make stock while making the soup or use a store bought short cut. Whatever your please, this soup will fill you up and steam out any aches and pains. Freeze extra in ziplock bags for a quick meal during the week! (I'll have to take a picture next time I make this.)

Revamped Grandma's Chicken Soup
by a girl and her kitchen

1 whole chicken, broken down (or buy a couple legs, thighs and a couple breasts, but better to have butcher break down a whole chicken if you can as the backbone has a lot of flavor for your brother)
1 onion, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 celery stalks, cleaned, chunky dice
4 carrots, cleaned and chunky dice (peel if you prefer)
1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes (use fire roasted from Multi Glen for extra flavor)
1 cup mushrooms, chunky dice (optional)
1-2 cups kale/chard/spinach, chopped (optional)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, but recommended)
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp herbs de provence
1 lemon
1 package of no-yolk egg noodles (i prefer the extrawide ones)
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 parmesan rind (optional but worth it!)
1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
water (may supplement part with homemade broth)
***1 container of good store bought chicken broth (optional, see note below)

In a very large pot, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the vegetables (carrot, onion, garlic, celery (and mushrooms and greens if using) and season with a heavy pinch of salt and pepper and sauté for 5-8 minutes stirring periodically so nothing burns.

Add in the chicken pieces and stir to combine. (Cooks Note: For better flavored soup, roast the chicken before using in soup. To pre-roast: in a large bowl toss the chicken pieces with 1 tbsp of salt and 1 tbsp of pepper and 3 tbsp olive oil, spread out evenly on a cookie sheet pan (preferably one with edges so no juices run off the sides) and cook at 400 degrees for at least 30 minutes so it starts to brown and get crispy…won’t be fully cooked, but if only making soup this should be enough).

Add in tomatoes and their juices, cheese rind, herbs (dried and fresh) and enough water to cover the chicken by a few inches (but make sure you leave an inch or so of space between the top of the pan and the liquid). If you do not have a long time to cook the soup (~4 hrs) to develop good flavor, then replace some of the water with a large container of store bought chicken broth (or better yet, homemade!) so that you give your broth a boost of help.

Raise heat to medium high to bring to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer at medium-low heat for at least two hours (if using raw chicken and not pre-roasting, worth cooking a bit longer). Taste the soup broth after a few hours to see if you need more salt/pepper or herbs. Add them as needed.

Once the chicken is cooked through, remove the chickenand discard the bones, skin and fat. Dice/shred the chicken. Add it back to the pot. While you are dicing the chicken, bring the soup back up to a boil and once the broth is boiling, add the noodles and cook according to package instructions (Cooks Note: Cook for 1 or 2 minutes less than package directions). Once noodles are cooked, add the chicken back to the pot to stir to combine. Squeeze 1/2 lemon and stir. Remove the cheese rind and bay leaf. Taste for seasoningand adjust as needed. Serve hot.
Top each plate with grated parmesan or pecorino and a bit more chopper parsley and enjoy.

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