Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chicken Noodle Soup

In January, it's so nice, while slipping on the sliding ice, to sip hot chicken soup and rice. Okay, so it's not January and I'm actually sharing a chicken noodle soup today, but I was singing this as I was making my soup. I mean, the kid was dreaming about hot soup in April too so this is totally appropriate. Do you guys remember that Maurice Sendak poem? Please say "yes" because Maurice Sendak was probably one of the best parts of my literary childhood and I'd be so sad if he wasn't a part of yours.

Even though today is actually quite gorgeous out (thanks, Mama Nature), April is full of rainy days (April showers!) and on those crap-tastic days, it's just awesome to sit down with a warm bowl of soup. There's just something so comforting about chicken soup too, right? It's like the best default soup that's loved by practically everyone and even though the canned stuff is easy and delicious, it's so much better to make soup yourself because you can control the ingredients and the sodium content. Plus, when you make it yourself, the noodles aren't fall-apart mushy.
Ingredients:
1 cornish hen
12 cups water
½ cup diced onion
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced carrot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 sprigs tarragon
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup egg noodles
+ pinch turmeric (optional)

Start by rinsing your chicken and add it to a pot with about 12 cups of water. *You'll notice that I have two hens in my pot. I was making a double batch of stock. Half of it was going towards this soup and the other half was going to be used for a dahk jook so just ignore that second chicken.

Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and let the stock develop for about an hour or until the chicken is tender (it should fall apart). Skim off any of the yucky foam and scum that's floating on top of the stock. Remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside to cool.
This photo is kind of pointless. I just wanted to share the cute little flower that my tarragon was sporting.
Chop up all of the vegetables.
Heat a large soup pot with a little oil over a medium heat. Add in the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic and let them cook until they start to get a bit of good color on them. Toss in the tarragon and bay leaf.
Pour in the stock (there should be about 8 cups of stock total). I set up a little strainer lined with a coffee filter so that I could "purify" the stock a bit. This is totally optional but it will give you a really nice, clear soup. Allow the soup to come to a boil.
Meanwhile, pull the meat off of the chicken and tear the meat into bite-sized pieces.
Add the chicken and the noodles to the soup. If you want, add in just a pinch of turmeric for color. The turmeric will make the soup extra yellow. Give it a good stir and cook just long enough to allow the noodles to get tender.
Serve up the soup while it's nice and hot and enjoy. I like to crumble in a few crackers. The soup is so yum, of course I would say that, it's my recipe, but it's true! Most recipes call for thyme, not tarragon, but I think for spring time, tarragon just suits the season more. If you haven't ever had tarragon, let me try to describe it for you: it's sort of like a hybrid between basil and mint. It's bright, it's got a hint of that anise-y flavor, and it's almost buttery. The soup is tasty but light and I especially love the combination of white and dark meat chicken.

I don't know, it's just so good. I actually had this for lunch on a rainy Sunday (the last weekend in March where it was pouring all day and night - remember that?) and it just made me feel cozy and warm and happy.
Here's the recipe page:

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