Thursday, June 9

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

So I realize it is no longer winter, but homemade chicken noodle soup is a classic, especially when you finally have access to the stock pot in your mother's kitchen.  The first time I made this soup was the first time I had ever handled a whole chicken by myself.  Definitely an experience...  Here's a tip: don't name the chicken something like Cluck before you cook it.  It makes the cooking process a bit more emotional than it needs to be.

Mr. Cocky, my sister's rooster

Chicken Noodle Soup
from College Cooking: Feed Yourself and Your Friends

1 whole chicken (3 - 4lbs)
salt and pepper
2 carrots
2 stalks of celery
8 oz uncooked noodles
1 tsp nutmeg

Remove the innards from the chicken and thoroughly wash the chicken.  Put the bird in a large stockpot and season it with salt and pepper.  Fill the pot with water so that the chicken is completely covered with water.  The less water, the more flavorful the broth BUT the less broth.  I know, it's a struggle.  Also, the water should be cold so it will do magical things to the chicken as it heats up.  Simmer over medium heat for 1 hour.

this is a more ingredient-intensive version
where I used onions, parsley, and garlic to season the broth as it boiled

Skim off the impurities up on the top.  Remove the chicken and let it cool until you can handing it without causing serious burns or discomfort.
Peel the carrots and slice them.  Cut the celery and add them both to the soup.
Remove the chicken from the bones.  Add what you want to the soup (I'd suggest the dark meat) and save the other meat (the white meat) for sandwiches and snacks and all that good stuff.  Go ahead and discard the skin and bones.
Add the noodles and nutmeg as well.  And hell, throw in some more salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally for as long as the noodles need to cook.  Take it off the heat and eat.

The first time I made this, the pot was just barely big enough to fill with water and cover the chicken.  I ended up cooking the chicken longer because I wanted to flip it over to make sure the meat was all cooked.  And then, as I tried to remove the chicken, it completely fell apart.  And I mean completely.  I spent the better part of 15 minutes removing all the various chicken bits (how does it not sound yummy when I put it like that??).  Honestly, before I made the soup I knew how homemade broth was made, but the whole process made me a little afraid to eat the soup.  For whatever reason, I was terrified that it was not going to taste good.  But it was pretty much fantastic, so I don't know what my problem was.

more of my sister's chickens...
this could have been my problem

Plus, I love this cookbook.  It's is fully of super simple recipes and Megan and Jill Carle (the sisters who wrote the book) always deliver a cookbook with recipes for complicated things that actually really easy and really delicious.  My sister has another one of their books, which is how I found this one.

Over the weekend, when I made the soup a second time, I took a couple tips from another cookbook.  This time, I boiled the chicken for an hour, removed the breasts for later, and boiled the rest of the chicken for another 3 hours.  Plus I had an onion and a bunch of garlic in there.  For broths, you can pretty much add whatever sounds good to you for seasoning, but you have to make sure that you don't over-season it and ruin the broth.  Also, if you don't want to eat the soup immediately, you can refrigerate it.  The fat is going to separate from the rest of the liquid and solidify, making it really easy to lift it off and remove.

I pretty much just listened to this song because the title has the word "bird" in it.  AND it's a great song.  Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds":

Carle, Megan, and Jill Carle. "Vegetarian Chili." College Cooking: Feed Yourself and Your Friends. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed, 2007. Print.

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