[dropcap]W[/dropcap]inter is coming…. every time I think of this I think of Game of Thrones. However, as a Michigan resident that is our motto starting in October or November. Fortunately enough this year hasn’t been bad. 50 and sunny is a treat in December compared to brushing off snow on your car. I haven’t even taken out my UGGS yet. That’s how warm it is here. (and yes, in the North we wear UGGS to genuinely keep our feet warm because who is anyone kidding, they are not “cute”).
The other weekend though was chilly. It was one of those weekends I could not warm up and felt a little sick. On Saturday night I decided to stay in and get some much needed rest. I knew the next few weeks would be crazy and didn’t want to wear myself down. I had felt chilled all day and all I wanted to do is curl under a blanket with a pot of chicken noodle soup to warm up.
I have made chicken noodle soup several different ways. Years back I used to be a big fan of rotisserie chicken. It saved so much time having to cook the chicken. The only thing that was a pain was de-boning it. Anyone who knows me knows that touching raw meat really grosses me out. If I am chopping anything raw I use a fork to hold the meat in place instead of my hand and then cut it. My husband always tells me he is going to video tape me one day and put it on YouTube because apparently my poker face shows how much I enjoy the action. So I feel the same way about de-boning chicken. Good thing I have a husband now!
When I have time on the weekends I like to make my own chicken stock too. The last time I made chicken noodle soup I even made homemade egg noodles. Tonight was not one of those nights. I did not feel like spending hours in the kitchen.
Lately I haven’t been a fan of how rotisserie chicken tastes. Maybe because it’s been cooked so long ago and sits under that red light at the store (even the organic ones at Whole Foods taste funny to me) so I decided I would maybe do a hybrid of homemade broth and use raw chicken to help enhance store bought chicken broth. I bought a box of chicken bone broth and a few boxes of regular chicken broth and then bought 2 pounds of chicken.
My husband likes dark meat and I like white so this made it really easy to please both. We did a pound of chicken breasts and a pound of thighs (both on the bone with the skin on). The bones and skin will let out great flavor as you “poach” your chicken in the soup as you are making it. It was the second best to making my own stock and took a fraction of the time.
Per usual I look for ways to incorporate more vegetables into my soup. I often chop spinach small and add it to dishes. I do the same thing with zucchini. Zucchini is one of those vegetables that if you grate it with a cheese grater it’s so small you can’t even tell it’s in something but you get all the nutritional benefits it has to offer. I also use grated carrots in my soups, this is mainly because I do not like how carrots taste at all but when they are grated I don’t even notice them in there. If you like carrots then you can chop them yourself. The already grated carrots also save time when I don’t feel like doing the work myself.
I love egg noodles in chicken noodle soup. However, as I have gotten pickier, I realize that most egg noodles are made with enriched flour. I am not a fan of “enriched” so I finally found some type of egg noodle that would work, it was organic tagliatelle that came in these cool noodle nests that I broke up and added to the soup.
To give the soup a different flavor I used lemon pepper. Trader Joe’s has a great lemon pepper grinder that has a mixture of pepper, sea salt, dried onion and garlic in it that really gives a nice flavor. I fresh squeezed the juice of a lemon into the soup as well to enhance the lemon pepper.
This soup is so easy to make. Chopping vegetables probably took the longest. De-boning the chicken I guess took some time but luckily I didn’t have to do that. With all the dimensions of flavors being added to every step it really did taste like it was cooked all day. Perfect for a chilly day or when you are starting to feel sick. Or when you just want some good ol’ comfort food!
- 2 lbs. of chicken (thighs and breasts work well here, bone and skin on for more flavor), you can also use rotisserie chicken and de-bone it
- 3 carrots diced or grated
- 2-3 zucchini (use 3 if they are small, 2 if medium sized) grated
- 3 turnips grated
- 2 russet potatoes peeled and cubed
- 7-8 stalks of celery thinly sliced
- 2 leeks, light green and white part only thinly sliced (rinsed off well to get all the sand out)
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled left whole
- 4-5 bay leaves
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley minced
- 4 boxes of chicken stock or broth (I use Pacific brand bone broth and Pacific low-sodium organic broth)
- 1/2 bottle dry white wine
- 1 package of egg noodles
- 2 TBS olive oil
- Start with 2 TBS lemon pepper (I used Trader Joe's lemon pepper grinder, we like lots of seasoning so start with TBS and add more as you see fit 1/2 TBS at a time so you don't over do it)
- salt and pepper to taste
- In large stock pot over medium heat, sauté celery, onions, leeks, garlic cloves, carrots and bay leaves in the olive oil for 10 minutes or until they start to get tender. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add in white wine and 2 TBS of lemon pepper. Let the wine cook and reduce for a few minutes. Add in the chicken stock (start with 3 boxes) and bring to a gentle boil. Add in chicken, turn heat back to medium and let chicken poach in the chicken broth. Let the chicken poach 25-30 minutes. The beauty of poaching chicken in the broth is it remains juicy. Even if it's a little over cooked you will add it back to the soup so it will be re-submerged in the broth again.
- Remove the chicken and let cool 5-10 minutes until you can handle it. After removing the chicken from the soup add in noodles, potatoes, zucchini and turnips to the pot. Taste your broth and season with salt and more lemon pepper if necessary.
- When chicken has cooled remove the meat from the bone. You can either add back to the pot or mound on the bottom of a soup bowl and serve the soup over the chicken. I prefer the latter as I do not like heating up meat in the microwave so it becomes chicken-less noodle soup for leftovers.
- Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the soup pot and stir in parsley. If you find that your noodles have absorbed a lot of the broth add in the remaining box of stock to get the consistency you like.