Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chicken Noodle Soup

I love chicken noodle soup, but do not like it made with chicken broth so I take the time to make chicken stock so my chicken noodle soup is rich and delicious. This is time consuming, but worth the effort in my opinion.

For Stock

5 pounds chicken pieces, wings, backs and necks. (If you purchase whole chickens to cut up for a recipe, you can always remove these parts and freeze them until you have enough to make stock.)
4 quarts cold water
2 onions
3 carrots
3 celery stalks

For Sachet:
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs of fresh parsley
12 whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

Place the chicken pieces and vegetables in a sturdy roasting pan. You may want to apply a thin layer of oil or spray Pam to the surface to prevent sticking. Roast the chicken and vegetables until the chicken pieces are brown. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a large stock pot.
If there is a lot of fat floating on the surface of the roasting pan, remove it with a spoon but leave the wonderful caramelized juices that are a result of roasting the ingredients. Put the roasting pan on your stove top and add 1 quart of the water. The pan is already hot so be careful and be sure to use your oven mitts.

Using a wooden spoon, scrape any brown bits of chicken or vegetables that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan and mix them into the rest of the liquids. Pour the combined water and juices over the chicken and vegetables in the stock pot.

Add the rest of the water to the stock pot and bring the heat up to high. You want to watch this closely at this point because as soon as the water comes to a boil, you want to reduce the heat to a nice gentle simmer. You will find impurities floating to the top in the form of fat or foam. Remove it with a spoon.

Make your sachet and add it to the pot

Gently simmer for 3 to 4 hours removing any impurities as they form on the surface. When done, remove the sachet and strain the stock through a fine meshed strainer. Let the stock cool and then transfer it to airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for up to a week. You may find a thin layer of fat that has congealed on the surface of the stock after you have refrigerated it. Just scrape it off with a spoon. You can also freeze your brown chicken stock up to 3 months.
You now have a rich, flavorful, important ingredient that you can use to make all sorts of soups and stews.

If your chicken stock does not taste as rich as you would like, put back in to a pot and reduce until you get the delicious flavor you're looking for. And don't add salt!!! If you are saving your stock for use in multiple recipes then you can add and adjust salt with each recipe rather than in the stock.

Now for the chicken soup:

1 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs chicken cut into one inch cubes (skinless dark or white meat)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 lbs carrots, chopped
2-3 leeks, sliced into 1/2 inch rings
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
5 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried parsley
salt to taste
approx. 4 cups chicken stock
12 oz package egg noodles

In a large pot add olive oil and heat over medium high heat. When oil is hot, add chicken pieces sprinkle with salt. Cook chicken until brown on all sides, add garlic, onions, leeks, carrots, celery, thyme, poultry seasoning, peppercorns, parsley and bay leaves. Continue to cook for 3-5 minutes stirring often. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil then cover and cook for 90 minutes. Check level of liquid, you need enough liquid to add your egg noodles. If you do not have enough liquid, add more stock or water if the liquid is very concentrated. Add egg noodles, cook for 5-10 minutes (depending on size of your noodles).

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