Funny

chicken noodle soup, for the souls that need it

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Welcome to my poor, neglected blog! If you’re a first timer, you can read my first-ever blog post here to get a little background (edits inserted since this was posted a few years ago). It’s been so long since I posted that I had to reset my password. My last post was about moving back to Ohio from D.C., and that happened well over a year ago. Oof. I’d like to get better about consistently posting since this is a therapeutic and enjoyable creative outlet for me, so I’ll resolve in 2017 to be better.

Speaking of being better – if you are feeling anxious about the future (as many of us are today), for any reason, I urge you to try to place yourself back in the present. I have to remind myself of this often. It’s something I still need to work on, but I’m doing my best. Look around you and really see what and, more importantly, who is there. Relish in any little feeling of security, no matter how small – even if it’s just the fact that the couch cushion has formed perfectly about your posterior as you read this. Wiggle around and smile. You’re home on your own couch, and you’re warm and safe. Fart if you want to.

Do something nice. Effect change in your world – it doesn’t have to be on a large scale, but it certainly can be. If you’re out in your community, actively making it better, keep on keeping on. If you’re fighting for what you believe in, keep fighting. You can do this loudly, but I believe you can do it quietly too, if that suits you better. If going out into the world to try to fix it sounds terrifying, start in your own home. Even if your home is just you, better yourself. Take care of people. Make plans with family or friends. Put your phone down for long periods of time. Work on strengthening real connections. Make someone else happy. Make yourself happy.

Start by making this soup!

Soup & Sam

This recipe is for everyone who has ever peeled the top off of a Campbell’s chicken noodle soup can and wanted more. It’s for everyone who has unceremoniously dumped that can of soup into a pan and then refilled the sad little can with water as the directions demand, then added said water to the soup and needed something more. It’s for everyone who has then sat down to slurp their soup and wondered why the noodles barely require chewing and the chicken tastes just south of what even bad chicken should taste like. It’s for everyone who deserves more from their chicken noodle soup.

We all know canned chicken noodle soup is garbage in terms of nutritional value. I actually still like the taste of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup for the most part, when I’m feeling really sick, but I think it’s only because my mom would feed it to me when I had a sore throat growing up. My mom liked it too, but she would actually pick out all of the chicken pieces from her can and give them to our cat, Fluffy. The hilarity of the chicken pieces not being good enough for her but perfectly acceptable for her only daughter is just now washing over me. Thanks, Mom.

This chicken noodle soup is everything. It’s full of real, tender chicken pieces – all of different sizes, like little chicken snowflakes. It’s also full of vegetables and a little full of egg noodles too. It’s rich and warm and comfort in a bowl.

The keys to soup nirvana?

Crane Brothers

     “Sherry, Niles?”  “Certainly, Frasier!”

  1. Homemade stock – this couldn’t be easier, trust me.
  2. A little heavy cream and parmesan – again, trust me.
  3. Sherry. Trust the sherry-swilling brothers Crane.

A helpful note before diving in: about half of these ingredients below simply get thrown into a stock pot, so this is much less labor-intensive than it appears at first glance.

Ingredients:

Essentials

  • 5 quarts water
  • 3 lb. fryer chicken, cut into sections*
  • 5 – 6 minced garlic cloves
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 peeled/diced medium onions
  • 4 teaspoons chicken Better-than-Bouillon base (3-4 chicken bouillon cubes would work instead)
  • 1.5 tsp. lemon pepper
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp each – kosher salt, black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. hot paprika
  • 3 – 5 sliced carrots (depending on size and love for carrots)
  • 4 – 5 sliced celery stalks
  • 4 measured cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 1/2 cup Fino sherry (I used Barbadillo brand)**
  • 2 tsp. dry rosemary
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp Lawry’s seasoned salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (half & half would do the trick half as well)

*A roaster chicken will work, but it will yield a much less tender result. Also, many markets will have already cut up fryer chickens, which means you can just toss everything in the package into the stockpot. Hashtag EZPZ.

Barbadillo Fino Sherry

 

**Avoid what is labeled “cooking sherry” (even if you find a recipe that calls for it). Cooking sherry has so much added salt and other preservatives that you can’t drink it, and it’s an artificial, weird product. Stay away. If you buy a decent bottle of sherry (I recommend a dry Fino for this recipe), the end product will have a discernible sherry flavor, and isn’t that the point of an ingredient, to actually taste it? Plus, you can drink it afterwards (and during). Store it in the refrigerator and enjoy as you would a dry white wine.

 

Recipe:

  • In a stockpot, add 4 quarts of the water (you’ll add a fifth quart later on) plus the ingredients from the fryer chicken to the smoked paprika on the list above. Bring to a low boil then reduce heat to medium-low or low.
  • Let cook over medium-low to low heat for about 45 – 60 minutes with the lid on, keeping an eye on the liquid contents now and then to make sure they’re only simmering – you don’t want it to boil, but you want the chicken to cook through. (45 minutes on low did it for me on a gas cooktop.)
  • Once chicken is ready, remove all chicken pieces from the stock and set aside to cool. From the stock, also remove bay leaves and large onion pieces.
  • Once cooled enough to handle, pull chicken off the bones, also removing the skin, so you are left with only your torn chicken pieces. Tear apart any pieces larger than bite-size.
  • Bring stock back to a boil in stockpot, and add carrots, boiling for about 2 minutes. Then, add celery and boil for about 5 more.
  • Add egg noodles, and boil until tender (10 – 15 minutes depending on brand purchased).
  • Reduce heat to medium and add chicken back to the pot, along with sherry, rosemary, parsley, and seasoned salt. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste. (I probably added 1/2 tsp, at least.)
  • Give everything a good stir and let simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  • Here’s where it goes from good to DAMN! Add your heavy cream and parmesan. (Remember that this soup will serve at least 10 servings, so it’s really not a lot of cheese or cream per serving.)
  • Reduce heat to low. At this point, if your soup looks too thick, you can add in that fifth quart (or less of water). If you do this, be sure to adjust seasoning if it’s needed, adding more salt and/or pepper. You’ll want to taste the soup at this point, whether or not you’re adding water, to make sure seasoning is right

The soup is ready now. And it will be even better tomorrow after the flavors meld overnight. In fact, if you’re wanting to eat it day-of, I highly recommend making it in the morning and enjoying it for dinner.

Serve hot, topped with a little more parsley if you so desire. A little extra parm never hurt anyone either. Commit fully and throw a grilled cheese into the mix. For all you local folks, Dorothy Lane Market bakes a Salt Rye that is just meant to be grilled and paired with white cheddar cheese.

Cheers, and thanks for reading!