Let’s face it – there’s something very primal and child-like that runs through all of us when we think about chicken noodle soup. Maybe our moms made some for us when we were sick as children, maybe we’ve given it to our own children for that same reason, or maybe it has been the kitchen classic to warm our bellies on a cold winter’s night.
It’s far from cold here, topping out at 80 degrees with 66% humidity today. Not sure what the heat index is, but the fact that my car is black makes my life miserable all summer long. When I was a dumb teenager and bought the thing thinking the black would make me look sleek and cool, I was..well, really dumb. Now I suffer from burned hands and hips (damn seat belt!) all summer long and swelter in the heat that emanates from the car when it’s first opened. And I can’t leave the windows cracked because this area is known for its afternoon thundershowers that pretty much dump a gallon or two in three to four minutes and then peace out for the day. I made that mistake in Colorado and ended up with a very musty front seat.
So why am I cooking soup if it’s so damn hot? Because I’m not feeling well, that’s why. And because it’s tasty. Alas, though, that is why I didn’t blog anything yesterday – I pretty much slept the entire day from a hyper super duper allergy attack that has left me with a sore throat, sore ears, a headache and that inevitable allergy itch all over my body. Benadryl works, but it also kicks my ass. So, soup it is.
I made this recipe up a few years ago at the nudging of my very first friend in Colorado, Brittney. Her aunt made a recipe similar to this one, and with some fiddling & experimenting, I was able to settle on a combination of ingredients and methodology that I like the best to produce a really good soup. And bonus: the overall per serving calorie count is quite good. The Ryan is pleased by this since he’s Mr. Calorie Counter, and he approves of being fed something delicious and healthy. I will admit, however, that I don’t own a stock pot and therefore don’t make my own stock. In an apartment the size of ours with both of us and two cats, we’ve sort of run out of room for a lot of my things, and I’ve been forced to leave them behind (which really just means they’re in a box in a closet at my mom’s until further notice). We’re working on fixing that, though. With any luck, we’ll be in a place of our own in the next year or so. 🙂 Until then, I can live with bouillon.
And let’s get dinner started!
First, the veggies. As all of you know, I am super anal about meat products touching the cutting board or my knife before the veggies do. In this particular case, I specifically cut and bagged chicken pieces for soup a few weeks ago, so all I had to do was take care of the veggies today. I chose three small white potatoes, an ear of corn, kernels removed (I don’t usually add it, but our store had 10 ears for $2…you might say I loaded up..), two stalks of celery, three carrots, and I cut about 1/3 of that white onion. I had the purple onion leftover from some guacamole I came home and made, so I figured I’d use the rest of it.
After peeling and cutting all the veggies (I sliced the carrots and celery, chopped the onion and cubed the potatoes), I went outside to shuck the corn, and Lestat joined me, doing what Lestat does best – he ate some grass.
Sam looked on in horror and curiosity from the safety of the indoors. I have never met a cat so afraid of outside than this one.
Back to the soup: I prepped all the veggies and put them in their respective bowls. If you are not already aware, you can put cut potatoes in a bowl with water to keep them from turning brown after being cut. If you don’t know how to get corn off a cob, watch this YouTube video.
Now for the broth. I know, I know, OH GOD, THE SODIUM!!! I am aware. Hence the “Better Than Bouillon” I have sitting there. It’s low sodium, and I use half the Goya powder and the other half is the Better Than Bouillon. 🙂 For spices, I have Paprika (1/2 tsp), Garlic Powder (1 tbls), Oregano (2 & 1/2 tsp), Bay Leaves (2), Pepper (1 & 1/2 tsp), Celery Salt (1 tsp), Thyme (2 & 1/2 tsp), and Dill Seed (2 tsp).
Fill your pot to about…there. It works out, generally, to be anywhere between 10-12 cups. The amount varies due to water evaporating, being absorbed by potatoes/noodles/veggies, etc. Sometimes you have too much, sometimes you have to add more.
When the water comes to a boil, add the appropriate amount of bouillon for your water (read the directions – I used 3 packets of Goya and 1 tbls of Better Than Bouillon. I also found some No Sodium granules in my pantry and tossed a couple tsp of that in too). Add the spices and the onions.
Add your chopped chicken (I always use chicken thighs because they, in my opinion, are much more rich in the soup, and the dark meat does not dry out. I had previously cut two thighs into cubes and sealed them with the food saver. ^_^) and let simmer for about 5 minutes (I keep my heat on medium).
After about 5 minutes, add the remaining veggies and continue to simmer for 10-12 minutes.
At this point, you may notice that your pot is quite full…like too full for noodles. I grab a bowl and ladle out some of the broth. Don’t dump it, though, the potatoes and noodles will absorb the water and you will likely have to put the liquid back in.
I don’t measure my noodles, I basically add handfuls until I think I’ve found a good noodle to soup ratio. This time I used about four and a half handfuls, which I believe would have measured out to about a cup and a half dry. Once you’ve added the noodles, cook them until done (about 10-15 more minutes).
Voila – comfort in a bowl. Pardon the blur, it was still steaming. And it was ohhhhh sooooo delicious. I feel better already! 🙂