Friday, September 23, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

My poor husband is miserable with a cold so he requested chicken noodle soup for dinner. Normally I would do this completely from scratch with a whole chicken, but there are two problems with that. First of all, if I make broth from a chicken, I always do it the day before I need it because I like to refrigerate the broth and remove the thick layer of fat that rises to the surface. He wanted soup NOW! I could try to just skim the fat off, but that leads us to the second problem. He hates the smell of whole chickens being boiled because he says it's like being punched in the face by a chicken. Usually you can't smell when you have a cold but his sniffing abilities are intact. He also loves dark meat so I decided to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the meat portion since they cook fast and Knorr chicken bouillon cubes for the broth part. I know, I know. Most bouillon is gross, but I do like Knorr. At my grocery store it's in the Hispanic food section for some reason. This is what it looks like:

You could use concentrated chicken soup base or cartons if chicken broth if you prefer. I don't like the cartons because I think it's overpriced, bland and a waste of packaging.

I would also normally put veggies in it like onions and carrots- yum!- but he didn't want those either. I guess when you're sick your preferences revert to what you liked (or didn't like) when you were a little kid! So I just added a halved onion and whole garlic cloves to season the soup as the chicken cooked since they can be easily strained out. This Joseph Joseph scoop colander was a gift from my mom and it's perfect for the job:

Here's the result, mostly homemade chicken noodle soup that's sure to please picky people! Sorry the picture is unappetizing, I promise it's good though :)

Chicken Noodle Soup

For soup:
1 large onion
4 whole cloves peeled garlic
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1/2 gallon chicken broth
1/2 t dried sage
1/4 t dried rosemary
1/4 t dried marjoram
1/4 t pepper
salt to taste

For noodles:
2 1/2 C flour plus more for dusting
1/2 t salt
2 eggs
1 T softened butter
at least 1/3 C water

Cut the ends off the onion, chop in half, and remove skin. Place in 5 quart pot along with the garlic, chicken and broth (note: if you use bouillon, just add 1/2 gallon water and the bouillon cubes). Crush herbs with a mortar and pestle and add to the pot along with the pepper. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Make the noodles while the chicken is simmering.

To make noodles:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together flour and salt. Add eggs, butter and 1/3 cup water. Stir by hand until the ingredients are mostly combined, then attach the dough hook and let the mixer do the work. Add more water, a tablespoon at a time, if dough is too dry. You don't want it to be sticky though. Let mixer knead dough for 5 minutes until smooth (or do this by hand if you don't have a stand mixer), then form the dough into a ball and cover the mixing bowl. Let rest 10 minutes. After dough has rested, generously flour a clean surface. Place the dough on the surface, sprinkle with additional flour, and roll dough out until it's 1/4 inch thick if you like fat noodles (we do!) or 1/8 inch thick if you want thinner noodles. Use a pizza cutter to slice dough into 1/2 inch by 1 inch pieces.

By this time the chicken should be done cooking. Remove the chicken, onions and garlic with a large slotted spoon. Discard the veggies and dice the chicken. Taste the broth and add salt if necessary. When you're ready to cook the noodles, bring the broth back to a light boil and add them along with the chicken. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.

Yield: 6-8 servings

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