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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chicken Soup

I've been craving chicken soup all week. I'm in the middle of another cold, and I feel like I need some mothering. Since my mother is inconveniently located across the country at the moment (or, rather, I'm located across the country from her) I decided to make some myself! Not that she's ever been that into chicken soup...AND as it turns out, she's sick right now too. I wish I could have sent her some of mine!

Anyway, I've been wanting to do a whole chicken soup completely from scratch (making my own stock and noodles) for a while now, and this sounded like as good an opportunity as any. I made the pasta the day before and got right to work roasting some chicken. I didn't have a whole chicken, but I had a good assortment of chicken parts.
 These roasted for about an hour and a half at 375. I didn't pick that time or temperature for any particular reason, in case you're wondering. I have very little experience with these things, so almost everything is an experiment at this point. In any case, this worked!

 Here I separated the chicken and dumped the bones and skin into a pot with just enough water to cover. I simmered it for about 4 hours, because I read somewhere that one should let it simmer for three hours, and after that I just lost track of time.

 After removing the bones and skin, I simmered the broth with these guys for a while (less than an hour if my memory serves me correctly). I forgot to buy an onion and had to use powder. Silly me! And I chunked the celery up huge because I don't like that particular flavor to be overpowering.

I liked how the broth came out tasting (once I added salt and pepper at the end of all this simmering business). I think I used a half teaspoon each of the spices there. Speaking of which-- another note about my ignorance-- I had no idea what spices to use. I just happen to like these two, so I threw them in. If there are some unspoken rules about what spices one SHOULD use in chicken soup, please do let me know before I get arrested.

 Here I suddenly realized I don't have a mesh strainer and had to use my husband's french press to strain any lingering gunk out of the broth. I think he's forgiven me!

I got exactly 4 cups of broth out of this batch. I guess I expected more, but-- again-- I've never done this before. I stuck it in the fridge overnight and took it out in the wee hours of the morning to skim the fat off the top (hence the dark windows and blurry pictures)

 And here are my beloved noodles cooking in the chicken stock! Look how much they plumped! I was pretty excited about it, and had to remove about half of them to make room for the other ingredients.

Oh, and I actually cooked the carrots first, but took them out because I had no idea how long they (or the noodles) would take to cook. It turns out that the carrots took about 25 minutes and the noodles took closer to 10. After that I threw the carrots in along with some shredded up chicken and some frozen peas, and let everything simmer for another few minutes.

What I learned: Use way less pasta next time, and it would have been helpful if I'd broken it up smaller. Come to think of it, less of EVERYTHING. As you can see from the picture below, it turned out much less like chicken soup and much more like chicken, noodles, and veggies in chicken broth. Either way, it tasted GOOD.
Mmm. I feel better already!

1 comment:

  1. Bay leaves are commonly used, you just stick one or two in and let them simmer with everything else, then pull them out before serving (very yummy classic soup flavor)