Yesterday morning, when I woke, I realized that what I thought was allergies the day before, turned out to apparently be an old-fashioned, end of the season, COLD. I had the sniffles and I was feeling off. I was also feeling guilty as it was a beautiful, warm and sunny day and I had a ton to do at the studio. For some reason being sick on cold and dreary days is much easier. I eventually realized it was far more important to take care of myself than to stay at work, so I left a few hours early, swung by the grocery store to buy supplies and headed home to make soup. I figured that, combined with everything else I was doing, was sure to make me well quicker. Now that I am eating clean, I am treating things like headaches and colds naturally, not that I was a big medicine person before, so I am attacking this cold with homeopathic syrup, vitamin C, cold care tea and zinc. I have to say, today is day two and I am actually feeling much better already.
I decided to make the stock for my soup from scratch, since there is really nothing like it. This is the first time I had meat in over 7 weeks, but chicken noodle soup was the only thing that I wanted, and I knew it would help my sniffles. Being that the chickens we ordered from the farm won’t be ready until mid-June, I settled on an organic whole fryer chicken from Wegmans and some good organic veggies, so it was perfect.
You can most certainly make this soup with canned or boxed broth or stock, but I am telling you, it just isn’t the same.
By the time the soup was ready to be served, a cold chill had come over the air, dark clouds moved in and the rain and thunder started. It was perfect soup weather. I started feeling better almost instantly and today I can tell that the cold is on its way out the door.
4 quarts of water
1 fresh whole chicken 3-4 lbs, cut into pieces or 4 lbs assorted chicken bones (I prefer organic, free range and without hormones or antibiotics)
4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
4 carrots, halved (I kept the skin on, but washed them)
1 large onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, halved
1 cup fennel, chopped
2 bay leaves
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
In a large stockpot, (use the strainer that fits in your stock pot if you have one) combine all the ingredients and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 1/2 hours, skimming the surface occasionally to remove any foam that forms on the surface. I added a bit more water as it was cooking to keep the chicken and vegetables covered. The longer you cook the stock, the stronger the flavor will be, but 2 1/2 hours was more than adequate and the stock had a fantastic flavor to it.
Remove the meat and bones and reserve, the meat can be separated and added back to the soup, used for chicken salad, etc. I prefer to add it back to the soup. If you didn’t use the strainer when making the stock, strain the stock to remove all the vegetables and other bits and add back to the pot. Throw out the bones and vegetables. Use the stock immediately or let the stock cool completely, and refrigerate overnight. Skim any fat that forms on the surface. Keep refrigerated in airtight containers until ready to use, up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months. Since I was using the stock immediately, I skimmed any visible fat off the top, made sure that it was strained of everything, and kept it on a low heat while I prepped everything for the soup.
Chicken Noodle Soup
4 quarts of chicken stock
chicken leftover from making stock or 2 chicken breast, already cooked, chopped or shredded
4 carrots, chopped
4 ribs celery, cut in half lengthwise, then chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced (you don’t have to use so much, but garlic is good for treating a cold)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced
2 1/2 cups of gluten-free noodles
1 bunch fresh chives, chopped
In a medium-sized pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and sautée the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Stir occasionally, making sure they do not burn. After the onion has become translucent, but all the veggies still have a crisp, add the rosemary and tarragon, stir to mix the flavors.
Add the veggies back to the pot with the stock and bring the heat to a medium-high. Let the stock and vegetable simmer, until it comes to a gentle boil, continue to let boil for about ten minutes. After ten minutes, taste the veggies to be sure they are softening to your liking. Add the cooked chicken and stir to let all the flavors mix. Taste, then season to taste, I found it needed more salt and pepper and I added more tarragon.
At the end, add the gluten-free noodles. Make sure that you account for how much liquid you started with when deciding on an amount of noodles, if you add too many they will blow up and take in all the liquid. Cook the noodles until the are done, mine took about 10 mins or so, you want a bit of a bite to them. Ladle into bowls, add a sprinkle of your favorite salt, fresh ground pepper and top with some chopped fresh chives. I love a small sprinkling of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano over the top, as well. Enjoy.