Chicken Noodle Soup

Posted on 08/28/2011. Filed under: Chicken, Life, Pasta, Soup |

Have y’all heard or experienced the crazy weather this week here in Central Virginia? Good lord we began with an EARTHQUAKE and ended it with Hurricane Irene! Shit is crazy here y’all! And I’ve been dealing with the summer cold that is going around, which proves my theory that work is bad for your health.  So because I’d been sick all week, I’ve been craving chicken noodle soup like crazy. Another con about work: it interrupts my cooking.

I finally got the chance today to make the soup I’ve been wanting for a week now, and my cold is waning…right now I’m at the annoying lingering cough stage. Mom had gone to the store and picked up the celery I needed, I had half a bag of baby carrots left in my fridge (speaking of, I’ve often wondered how carrots could have such a long life if kept cold…is it because it’s a root vegetable? Dunno), I still had a couple of white onions hangin’ around, as well as the stock and chicken breasts in my well-stocked freezer.

Speaking of my freezer, if we lost power for a significant amount of time, sooooo much food would be wasted, and I would cry like a woman in the middle of her period watching a tear-jerker marathon on Lifetime. So knock on wood, the only power outages so far during this storm have lasted maybe three minutes long. Others in Richmond, many of my friends, have lost power. Fortunately they’re all stocked up on beer. But the downside to this storm is that Shadow is going crazy. He’s an outdoor cat and is refusing the litter box, and it wandering around my house and yelling at my mom and I. Our response? “Dammit cat, can’t you tell there’s a HURRICANE OUTSIDE?!?!”

Watching the storm from the best seat in the house

Getting back to the soup…I started out by chopping one white onion in a medium dice. I then tossed it in a cold stock pot that had been drizzled with a tablespoon or so of Trader Joe’s Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and a three-finger pinch of Kosher salt. I let the pot hang out cold while my frozen four cups of homemade chicken stock melted in a saucepan on the burner next to it.

Then I sliced eight stalks of celery into medium slices, and sliced most of the bag of carrots. I wanted to keep the veggies around the same size for even cooking, and I guess I sliced a cup of each. Then I cut three chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

When the stock was melted, I turned on the stockpot and let the onion cook until transluscent-ish. Yes, that’s a word. Then I added the celery and carrot to the pot, stirred it up, and cooked the veggies for a couple of minutes. Then I poured the stock in, as well as an additional 10 cups or so of water. The veggies will add flavor to the water, and since I was going to cook the chicken in the broth, it was going to add flavor as well. I then herbed it up (no, not “herbs,” just herbs, you stoners!) with dried thyme and dill, a few bay leaves, garlic powder and onion powder, a few dashes of hot sauce, white pepper and a couple more pinches of salt, seasoning to taste. Season your soup however you like. If you’re a sage freak, have at it. Like a kick to your soup? Add crushed red pepper. Go nuts, let your freaky soup flag fly.

So anyway, after the seasonings get added, and the veg and liquids, I brought the soup to a boil, reduced to a simmer, and let the veg cook for about 30 minutes. Then I added the cut chicken to the pot, stirred it up, and let it cook for 10 more minutes, and then I added dried wide egg noodles to the pot, stirred it up, let it cook for an additional 12 minutes. You can use whatever noodles you want, if you want to add noodles. If I had a matzo ball recipe, I’d probably made Penicillin Soup like at The Jewish Mother in Virginia Beach (but better, their soup’s gone downhill, whereas mine is bangin’). But if you add spaghetti, be sure to break up the pasta before adding it to the pot, unless you wanna slurp noodles.

The soup was warm and comforting, like a soft blanket by the fireplace on a cold rainy night. The veggies were cooked to perfection, were not mushy and overcooked. The chicken was juicy and firm, not chewy, and the pasta was al dente.  It makes a TON of soup: 14 cups of leftovers plus two soup bowls full. So good, all natural, filling, and plenty left over to either share or hoard in your freezer like I did.

Large stockpot of homemade chicken noodle soup

Perfect dinner on a rainy night..healthy too!

…The next day…

I started this blog during Hurricane Irene. I was fortunate enough to have power until about 9:30pm the night of Saturday, August 27, when I was in the middle of typing the last sentence of the last paragraph. I am happy to report my townhouse did not have any damage, the only bad things that happened were no power throughout the night (but fortunately it wasn’t that hot and slept comfortably), arguing with Shadow as to why he could not go outside, and the cover blew off my grill (but landed safely behind it, caught between the side fence and the grill, and it is currently drying out in the sunshine). When I went to bed last night I was very scared about the food in my large 6′ freezer out in the garage as well as the food in my well-stocked fridge, and nearly cried at the thought of throwing everything (including the soup I’d just made) out. Also, it dawned on me that I do not own a French Press coffeemaker nor do I own either ground coffee or a coffee grinder (because we own a Cuisinart Grind & Brew), and might have to drink tea instead if I boil water on the grill. Fortunately, our power was restored around 10:00 this morning, I had fresh coffee and pancakes with bacon for breakfast in my own home, and am now able to wash linens. I have offered my friends without power use of my facilities if they need them.

How he recovers from a hurricane, by napping on a cooler in the shade next to my mint

Anyway, I hope everyone is safe and has an enjoyable week, and hopefully no more crazy-ass weather.

Bon Appetit, Y’all!

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