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Monday, February 14, 2011

Good ol' Chicken Noodle Soup

As basic as it may seem, I love a good bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup. It topped my list for years, and only recently got bumped to second place when I couldn't contain my passion for Tortilla Soup any longer.  That said, when I'm feeling low...or have sick babies home from school...or a hubby feeling under-the-weather...or just need cheering up...I know I can count on a big, comforting pot of Chicken Noodle Soup to put a bounce back into anybody's step.  It would seem obvious if I said this stemmed from a memory of my mom making it for us as kids when we were sick.  But she didn't.  At least not that I can remember.  My sister says she remembers mom making her Chicken and Dumpling soup when she was feeling bad.  Hmmm.  I'm the oldest, and I'm guessing that started after I was out of the house and living the high-life {pun intended} in East Lansing.  That's cool.  It's not like I wanted Chicken and Dumpling soup when I felt like poo.  Whatever.  I'll just have to be content with my red-and-white-label memories.  I still love you, mom.

I started the tradition by myself, once I was in my own kitchen...and I'm pretty confident that my own chitlins will think of their mama's chicken noodle soup when they're older and on their own and feeling sick or down.  And then I can pass the recipe and the tradition on to them.  That is enough to put a satisfied smile on my lips and keep me making it.  Well.  That and the fact that I love it.  Eating it.  Making it.  Sharing it.
Chicken Noodle Soup
from the kitchen of girlichef
makes: ~8 svgs. or just over a gallon

4 lbs. bone-in chicken breast
~1 gallon chicken stock or broth
few thyme sprigs
few parsley stems
1 bay leaf
½" piece of ginger, grated
6 garlic cloves, peeled & smashed

2 small onions, small dice
4 big, fat carrots, small dice
4 ribs celery, small dice
1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
12 oz. extra-thick Kluski noodles
freshly ground black pepper
salt (if needed)

Place first seven ingredients in a large Dutch oven or soup pot.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and poach very gently for ~20-25 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through.  Turn off heat and allow to cool until just able to handle.

Once you are able to handle the chicken without burning off any fingerprints, remove it and pull the meat from the bone.  Discard bones or save for another use, and shred or chop chicken.  Strain the broth, pushing on the solids to release all of the good juices.  Reserve broth and discard solids.

Add onion, carrot, celery, and thyme back to the pot (cleaned of any scum or residue first) and pour the broth over.  Bring to a boil, then add noodles and lower heat to a simmer.  Cook until noodles and veggies are al dente (check individual package directions).  It should take about the same amount of time to cook both, remember the veggies are cut in a very small dice.  Season with black pepper, and salt if needed (but be sure to check first, if you used packaged chicken broth, it's possible that it is salty enough already).

Ladle big, steamy servings into bowls and serve to those in need of comfort.
 Like any soup, this is even better the second...or even  Refrigerate and reheat individual servings either on the stove-top or in the microwave.  The only "issue" with soup that contains noodles or rice is that they tend to soak up the liquid as they sit.  When reheating, simply add in a little extra broth (you could even add water, if need this point, the flavor's permeated everything pretty well...just not too much).