Monday, November 7, 2011

Comfort Food Classics: Chicken Noodle Soup

As the weather finally gets colder and the days shorter I find myself making more comfort food. Chicken Noodle Soup is one of those recipes that I think people dismiss sometimes as too basic, but when made well can really taste simply delicious. I have played around with a recipe for years and even when my friend Paul asked me to resend a version I had sent him some time ago I wasn't sure if I could do that  - exactly - so this is where I am now. I can't really take any credit for the origins of this recipe. The base is a hybrid formed from the marriages of Williams-Sonoma and Barefoot Contessa recipes (not a bad coupling if I do say so myself). Over the years I have doctored and added elements that gave me the flavor I was looking for. Served with some crusty bread and a salad, this is the perfect quick weeknight meal.

Couple of notes: Fresh veggies and herbs are key here. It really does make a difference in the taste. If you can make your own stock that much the better but on a day to day basis I use Kitchen Basics, no salt added stock. I like to use half veggie stock, half chicken stocker for a richer flavor. When I am feeling horrible, especially if my nose if clogged I tend to like a lot of garlic, but if you are not a garlic lover, then just cut the amount to taste. If you are pressed for time a rotisserie chicken can easily be used. You may have to skim some fat off the soup before serving though.

This freezes pretty well, Just add some new stock to the frozen batch and reheat on the stove top. Enjoy!

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Chicken Noodle Soup

1 whole chicken breast, bone-in, skin on
Olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
4 small cloves garlic, smashed then finely minced
1 bay leaf
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
2 oz egg noodles
6 cups stock
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, plus some for garnish
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Baste the chicken breast with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast, skin side up for 25-30 minutes until just pink on the inside. You want the chicken to be slightly undercooked. Remove from oven. Allow to cool then skin and remove the meat from bone, cutting up the meat into 1-inch cubes. (You should have about a 1/2 pound of meat.) Set aside.

Heat a large pot on the stove. When hot add a small amount of olive oil and coat the bottom of the pan. Add in onions, celery and carrots and cook until softened, about 10-12 minutes. (Turn down the heat if veggies start to brown.) Once cooked, add garlic and cooked for another minute. Add the broth and bay leaf heat until slowly boiling. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface of the stock. Add noodles, remaining spices and cook about 8 minutes until noodles are almost done, then add reserve chicken, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 4 more minutes and then serve.

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