We’ve had quite the cold snap here in Northwestern Wisconsin, the temperature has been hovering in the -10F range for the past four days in a row! Today it’s a little warmer, 11 degrees, but the wind chill is harsh, so I haven’t left the house. Except this morning, we were out of coffee! What have you been doing all these days then, you ask? I’ve been on a baking frenzy! Yesterday I made biscotti, the day before that I made doggie biscuits! Today I am going to make chicken noodle soup.
Now, there was a day when I couldn’t make chicken noodle soup with out store bought stock. But since I built my brick oven (chicken cooks up fantastic in it!) and with some patience, I think my soup is pretty good. And here is one of the best tips I could give anyone regarding cooking: When you buy chicken, always buy it whole. Consider this, you can buy a couple small chicken breasts at the market for about $7, or you can buy a whole chicken for about $7. I get roughly three meals out of one chicken. Baked chicken for dinner, chicken salad or sandwich for lunch and some sort of chicken soup. You just need to teach yourself how to cut the chicken up, I did, and it’s really easy. All you need is a sharp knife. There are a bunch you-tube videos out there, here is a great example! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zW5BFvCmV7k
Chequamegongirl’s Chicken Soup
2 Chicken carcasses
4 Carrots, peeled
5 Celery stalks
1 Onion (we’re going to use the peel, root and top for the stock)
2 Bay leaves
1/2 t Turmeric
1/2 t Basil
1/4 t Pepper
Parsley, chopped fresh for garnish
Put the chicken carcasses, the carrot peels and ends, the onion peel, root and top, 1 celery stalk cut in two pieces, bay leaves, turmeric and pepper into a stock pot and cover with water. If I have leftover fresh herbs, they go in the pot. Put the heat on medium-high, and as soon as it starts to boil, turn the heat down so you have a nice simmer, about low. At this point, forget about your soup. That will be hard though, it smells so good! I usually let my soup simmer for 4-5 hours, and I don’t plan on eating the soup for dinner the same night! But it can be done, just start early! Next, chop up the carrots, celery and onion. Put it all together in a bowl, covered and set it in the fridge.
When 4-5 hours has gone by or you like the taste of your stock, strain the broth through a colander into another pot or bowl that it will easily fit into. When that is done, you want to remove the fat. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can set it outside if you live in a cold area like me, or put it in the fridge and let it cool completely. Take your cold stock and with a large spoon, scrape off the solidified fat. I don’t compost fat; we have bears here in the great north woods! I put it in the trash. If you don’t have time to wait, strain it again (when it’s cooled off a bit) through some cheesecloth. Or clean nylons work good, too. Maybe you have one of those funky fat-removing measuring cups, they work great! Pick through the bones when they’ve cooled and remove any meat, add it to the stock. Put the stock back in the pot and reheat, add the vegetables and bring to a simmer. Cook about 30 minutes, then throw in a few handfuls of egg noodles. It should be ready in 15 minutes. Correct the seasonings and add some fresh chopped parsley for garnish, it’s pretty and adds great flavor. Serve your soup with a good old fashioned grilled cheese sandwich or salad. Manga!