Monday, August 25, 2014

Simple Comforts: Hot Soup - Chicken Noodle

Who doesn't like chicken noodle?  It has to be one of the cornerstones of growing up, from being what mom had you eat when you were sick to being the perfect way to thaw out after you had stayed outside too long in the cold.

There are two variations I use for Chicken Noodle. There's the comfort food version, and then there's the mega-strength "Oh Gods this cold has got to GO!" version.

Also included is a quickie "pasta" salad recipe that is great for those of us who can't or won't eat grains.

First, though, is the soup!

The Broth

A good chicken or beef based soup is dependent on the broth, and if you are recovering from being hurt or sick, etc, you especially want a good, hearty, rich broth.

"All right... so how do we do that?"

Thanks for asking, I was just getting to that.

You need either:

  1. The parts of the chicken with the most fat, like the breast and thighs. 
    • If you have canned chunk chicken, you'll need to add a source of fat, like an oil. 
    • If you have chicken with bones still in, not a problem, you'll be straining it after boiling it down.
  2. The fatty parts of beef and the bones.  The marrow in the bones adds an incredible flavor and nutrition you won't get from other parts of the meat.  (Ever throw a couple of soup bones in your chili before? Try it!)
In my home, we take our favorite spice and herb blends and dry rub the chicken (or beef, even the fat parts) and let them marinate in that for a couple of days in the fridge.  After cooking and eating the parts we want, the leftovers get thrown into the stock pot.


From here on we'll be talking about the chicken recipe as I haven't re-tested my beef broth recipe yet.
  1. Put a thin layer of oil on the bottom of the pot so that the chicken doesn't stick.  
  2. Add the chicken, spices, and water, and stir it up really well.
    • If you have only the bones and skins leftover from two chicken breasts, you want 3 cups of water in the pot with them, or a cup and a half (enough to cover said parts in the pot) if there's just one.  
    • Scrap up all the fat and seasonings from the container they were stored in as well and toss that in.
  3. Now set to lightly boil until you can see a nice thick layer of fat on top.
  4. Grab your strainer and a container for the liquid from the pot to go into. 
  5. Pour liquid through the strainer just until you're almost ready to dump the bones into it.  
  6. Look through the strainer at the spices to make sure there are no tiny bones hiding in there, and put the spices back into the liquid.  
  7. Pour what's left into the strainer and set aside to allow the bones to cool. (DO NOT GIVE COOKED BONES TO ANY OF YOUR ANIMALS.  I have cut myself on chicken bones when prepping them I don't know how many times.  If cooked and raw can do that to you, spare yourself the possible agony of having to take your pet to the Vet.)
  8. Set the pot with however much broth you want for your soup back on the stove;  store the rest in the fridge.  When covered, this broth will last up to about a week.
  9. Add your meats, veggies, etc.


Now in terms of spices, the comfort food recipe goes as such:
  1. A bit of garlic
  2. Salt 
  3. pepper
  4. onion powder
  5. rosemary
All proportions are up to personal preference.

Now the "Oh Gods kill me now" version of this soup:
  1. minced garlic
  2. Cayenne 
  3. black pepper
  4. hot sauce
  5. chili powder
  6. cinnamon (just trust me on this one)
  7. fresh green onions (diced)
  8. rosemary
The seasonings ratio for this recipe is 1 teaspoon each per two cups of water (or about four shakes of the spice bottle over the pot).   The point is to make it spicy enough to raise your body temperature so that your immune system gets an extra hand in dealing with whatever is making you sick by cooking it out of yourself.

And that is that.  The "hardest" part is the broth.

"What if we don't have the traditional noodles to put in it?"

In case you haven't noticed, I don't exactly stick to "traditional fare" when it comes to food. Cookie, you can throw anything into that pot at this point.  Elbow noodles, rice, diced and sauteed peppers, shredded chicken, roasted tomatoes, roasted peppers, rice noodles, zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, cucumbers noodles, cabbage, carrots... you get the picture.

 You can get this noodle maker on Amazon.
"Wait a second... cucumber noodles? Zucchini noodles?"

Yep!  See here's the thing, since everybody thinks they're just going to throw seeds in the ground and get crops (HISS!  No, it doesn't work like that, and next month I'll be getting into WHY it doesn't), you're going to need to get good at cooking all those veggies.

As you can see in the picture, making veggie noodles is entirely possible AND they are a great substitute for those who have problems with grains or gluten, or won't eat grains because of diet. This opens you up to turning a large number of things into noodle substitutes. Plus, veggie noodles are also higher in nutrition.

Now I mentioned the garden because, unless you end up with mites or a bad frost, Zucchini will grow like a weed and you're going to run out things to make with it. The noodles add another option.

Oh, that "pasta salad" recipe?   

Even more simple than the broth.
  1. cucumber noodles
  2. carrot noodles
  3. sliced tomatoes
  4. your favorite oil
  5. Lemon or Lime juice (your choice)
  6. salt
  7. Cumin
  8. pepper
Toss and Voila!

This salad is great when chilled in the fridge for a few hours as part of a dinner on a hot day! Oh, and don't mind that smacking sound you heard, that was just my fiancé wondering if this'll be a part of dinner tonight. ;)


No comments:

Post a Comment

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to