Let It Rain and Clear It Out
I (like most folks, I truly believe) have a palette full of anomalies. As much as I am a purist when it comes to food prepped lovingly with exquisite ingredients, I’ve been known to slum it up from time to time. I’ll succumb to the knee-weakening smell of Popeye’s chicken about once a year. Though I’m no Joey Chestnut, I can happily tuck into a plate of piping hot Coney dogs at Nathan’s. And I will pledge my unequivocal devotion to Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup in the red can. Artistic leanings aside (and the copy of Andy Warhol’s “Giant” in my living room), I adore slurping up ladlefuls of salty broth, questionable chicken chunks, and tender egg noodles. I’m an addict.
That all being said, I truly believe that there is a time and a place for instant vs. homemade – this recipe is just as much of a soul-pleaser as the red canned goodness. It’s like comparing your parents – you love them individually for different reasons, and both are uniquely indispensable. I love this soup because, unlike the canned variety, it’s a hearty, rib sticking soup brightened by the freshness of the ingredients. And, going back to my TPT palette, I am a sucker for egg noodles served any possible way. I should probably take out stock in Pennsylvania Dutch Brand – stock? Get it? I know you love soup puns – that’s why you’re still reading my ramblings 😉
The recipe below uses a whole chicken to make homemade stock, but I’ve done this in a pinch before with College Inn broth, a rotisserie chicken and carrots and celery. Just start with the second addition of veggies and shredded chicken and bring the broth up to a boil. If you are doing this fake-me-out version, make sure to include copious amounts of fresh parsley to fool your guests into believing that it’s homemade. Fresh herbs = homemade = majesty. Trust me, my math is solid.
Further proving that taste is subjective, if you didn’t laugh at the “Chicken Noodle Soup” video yet (with a soda on the side), here’s your second chance. And can we comment on the fact that the soda on the side is not the stereotypical orange soda, but the Spanish Harlem favorite, Jarrisco? In “red” flavor, I believe. Apparently, red is a flavor.
Chicken Noodle Soup
1 whole chicken (can be cut up or left whole)
3 carrots, peeled
2 stalks of celery
1 onion, quartered
a couple sprigs of sage
1 bay leaf
salt and black pepper
2 stalks of celery, sliced thinly
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 bag of egg noodles
chopped flat-leaf parsley
Place chicken (or chicken pieces) into your pot. Cut your carrots and celery into 2 in. pieces and toss into the pot. Add your onion, bay leaf, 1 tbs of salt and a teaspoon of pepper. Fill pot with 12 cups of water and set to boil. Boil on high until the chicken starts to separate from the bone and the veggies become soft. Strain broth and put back into the pot. Set aside chicken and vegetables until they are cool enough to handle.
Separate the chicken, shred and set aside. Add the leftover vegetables, chicken skin and chicken bones to the pot and add water to the pot to make around 12 cups of soup (ie. if the water came up to 3/4 of the height of the pot in the first step, add enough water so that the soup comes up to the same level in the pot). Boil until the stock reduces by a quarter. Strain stock and taste for salt and pepper. Throw out the veggies, bones and bay leaf. At this point, you can cool the stock and chill overnight, or you can continue to cook the soup.
Bring strained stock to a boil and add the chicken, sliced celery and sliced carrots. Cook until your veggies are tender.
While your veggies are cooking, bring another pot of water to a boil and cook your egg noodles. If they give you a time frame for cooking (ie. 7-9 minutes), cook them for the lesser amount of time. Drain and toss with a small amount of butter or olive oil. Just so you know, I cook and serve the noodles separately so that they don’t become waterlogged and soak up too much broth.
To serve, put about 1/2 c. of noodles in a bowl. Ladle over the chicken, veggies and hot broth. Top with a smattering of parsley and a couple extra cracks of black pepper.
Note on Stock
- This stock can be prepared with a lot of additional ingredients, to include smashed cloves of garlic, parsley stems, and celery tops. Add these ingredients after you strain the broth the first time when you return the chicken skin and bones back to the pot.