Recently I talked about comfort foods – how they make us feel warm and happy, safe and loved. Pretty much all soups fall under comfort food for me. The king of the comfort soups though, has got to be Chicken Noodle.
When I roast a chicken, I almost always use the leftovers to make a big pot of chicken stock. I freeze the stock in ice cube trays, then store the cubes in a zip-top bag, so that anytime I need a little chicken stock, I have it at hand. Each ice cube is equivalent to two tablespoons of stock when thawed. I also freeze it in gallon size zip-top bags. I write the item’s name and the date on a bag, ladle about 8 cups of stock in the bag, then compress to remove all excess air. I lay the bag flat in my freezer so it will freeze into a thin “brick”. Then I “file” the bricks in the chest freezer in our garage. Everything from butternut squash bisque to tomato sauce gets frozen this way.
Since the weather has been colder for a while now, I’ve roasted several chickens and made stock a few times. I had plenty of frozen stock, so instead of freezing the latest batch, I stored it in the fridge in an old milk carton.
I don’t really use a recipe when I make Chicken Noodle Soup, so each batch is a bit different from the last. The recipe below is my best approximation of my most recent creation, which was extremely flavorful and packed with delicious herbs and vegetables.
Chicken Noodle Soup
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 c. carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried tarragon
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 c. cooked chicken, shredded
8 c. chicken stock
Start by cooking the bacon in a large soup pot. If it is extremely fatty, pour out some of the grease – you just want one or two tablespoons to remain.
Add onion and carrots to the pot. Feel free to add the traditional celery as well – Andrew and I don’t care for celery, so I usually skip it. Allow them to caramelize in the bacon fat for a few minutes, then add the dried herbs. Salt and pepper generously. Add the garlic to the pan and stir to incorporate it.
Add the chicken and the stock to the pot. Use a long handled wooden spoon to scrape all the brown bits up off the bottom of the pot (this is called “deglazing” the pan).
Cover and simmer at least an hour, longer if you like. About fifteen minutes prior to serving, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the egg noodles. Drain and set aside.
DO NOT add them to the soup pot. If you do, your leftover soup will be full of bloated, soggy noodle bits. Store soup and noodles separately until you are ready to eat them.
When you’re ready to serve, have each person put the cooked egg noodles in their bowl.
You may prefer to use rice, dumplings, cheese tortellini, or, you may wish to copy Andrew’s brilliant idea – stuffing!
Ladle hot soup over the starch of choice and serve with warm garlic toast.
Chicken Soup with Stuffing
Chicken Soup with Noodles
What goes better with soup than a delicious piece of bread? I found these beautiful crusty rolls at the store, and imagine my surprise when I read the package – these are “Calabria Breads”. How fantastic! My Nonnie’s family is Calabrese, and I have never seen a bread named for that region, so I was a little geeked to see that.
Warm Garlic Toasts
2 crusty rolls
one clove garlic, peeled
Slice the rolls in half and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Broil the rolls until they are toasted to your liking. Remove from the oven and immediately rub with your raw garlic clove.
The garlic will melt into the breads, imparting deliciously subtle garlic flavor. These rolls are the perfect accompaniment to soups, stews, and pasta dishes.
I have been making lots of soups this fall, and I will try to share more of them with you as soon as I can. In the meantime, make yourself a big bowl of Chicken Noodle and cuddle up on the couch!