Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Three-Way Chicken Part 2: Soup Time

Part 2 is here. If you missed it, HERE is part 1. Now that you have a stock made, it's pretty straightforward to get a soup out of it. Chicken noodle soup makes a lot, but it freezes very well and also works well as a gift. I know I like receiving soup. Most chicken noodle soups start and end the same way. Sauté vegetables, add chicken, add stock, bring to simmer, add noodles, and eat. Wow, is it really that easy? Yes, it is. This is one of those "fix it now, feed the family for two days" kind of meals. Its good for you, cost efficient, and can be modified to fit your current mood. I particularly enjoy swapping noodles for brown or wild rice as well as varying the vegetables I add. This is a great recipe to put your own spin on and develop into something you will enjoy all the time.

A word on the cut. A lot of books call for what is called "soup cut". I like to call it a large dice. Just think of the size of vegetables you want in your soup. More than likely you will want something not too large (like for stew) but not too fine (we are not making a sauce). So go in between, big enough that the pieces will have texture, but small enough to fit with broth on a spoon. Ok then, here we go.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Cooked chicken, shredded,
Chicken stock
3 carrots, large dice
2 celery stalks, large dice
1 large onion, large dice
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 16oz bag frozen mixed vegetables
3 T butter
1 16oz bag egg noodles
2 t fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 t dried)
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the stock from the refrigerator (if you stored it there) and let it come to room temperature. Add butter to large pot over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, and onion, sauté for about 3 minutes until the onions just start to wilt. Add garlic, stir and cook for about 1 minute. Add the chicken to heat it through, and then add stock. You do not need to add all of the stock if you prefer a more chunky soup, just save the rest for a later application. Let the soup come to a boil and reduce heat to low so it just barely simmers. Cook for about 30 minutes or until veggies are tender.

Meanwhile, bring another large pot of water to a boil, salt it, and add your egg noodles. Boil them until still pretty al-dente (this helps prevent them from turning to mush later). Drain the noodles and rinse to stop the cooking. Add frozen veggies to the soup, return to a simmer, then add the noodles and thyme. Let cook for about 15 more minutes and then season with salt, pepper, and more thyme if you desire. The seasoning is open ended, as are the veggies you add (go with whatever is in season to change it up). This recipe makes a lot, but chicken noodle soup freezes quite well and keeps for about 3 months.

This is the first application for the chicken; next I will tackle chicken and dumplings!


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