Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tay's Chicken Noodle Soup

This is an extremely adaptable and forgiving recipe. I improvised it based on what I had at hand, but you could adapt it. For example, by using dark meat or a whole chicken rather than white meat. And using Turkey stock was totally a product of necessity--we had some leftover in the fridge. So think of it more as a guideline...

Tay's Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves 4
2 Quarts Turkey stock
1 Quart Chicken stock
Bouquet Garni
Garlic Clove
2 Medium skinless bone-in chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
3 Medium carrots
3 Celery stalks
1 Small to medium onion
3 Tbs. Butter (in three slices)
1 Tbs. All purpose flour
12 Oz. package of egg noodles

Put you meat out on the counter so that it is room temperature before you get to the stage of prepping it.

Get the stocks simmering in a large pot on the stove over medium low heat. Add the Bouquet garni and garlic. If the stock is thin, allow a long time to reduce, otherwise, reduce to taste, adding salt and other seasonings to taste as it develops over the course of the following steps.

Preheat over to 400 degrees F. Liberally salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts and place them breast-side-down in a 10" to 12" stainless steel (oven-proof) skillet. Put in oven.

Slice carrots, celery, and onion into relatively small (1/8") slices.

After about 15 minutes, beginning checking the chicken frequently. If you are uncertain, use a kitchen thermometer to check doneness--you want to take them out of the oven just this side of 175 degrees F at the thickest point. It's easy to over cook a chicken breast, so beware. When it's finished, remove and set aside for a few minutes (at least 5-10) before carving meat off the bone. Cut the meat into bite-size pieces and set aside. Put leftover carcasses and any pan juices in the simmering stock.

Put 1 Tbsp. butter into the skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter begins to bubble, add the carrots and saute until the carrots begin to brown slightly on edges. Pour them (and whatever liquid is left in the skillet) into the pot.

Put the next Tbsp. pat of butter into the skillet over medium-high heat to saute the celery and onion. When they become translucent, toss them and their juice into the pot.

Put the final Tbsp pat of butter in the skillet and turn heat down to medium-low. As the bubbling of the butter subsides and the color just begins to change, sprinkle flour onto the flour and begin to whisk. Cook this roux for about a minute, whisking continuously. Before it burns, laddle in a bit of the boiling broth and whisk it in. Incorporate another laddle-full of broth. You should see something like gravy in your skillet. Try to scrape off any of the charred bits from the pan.

Remove the two carcasses and the bouquet garni from the stock pot. The garlic clove can remain as a bonus for a guest. Pour the contents of the skillet into the stock pot. Add chicken pieces and egg noodles, too. Simmer for about 10 minutes until noodles are done. Correct spice balance of the soup as necessary.

Laddle into bowls and garnish with parsley.

Simmering your stocks long enough results in a ridiculously rich and delicious broth. Just be careful about ending up with something too salty. Salt should be added in increments throughout the development of the dish, not just all at once at the beginning or end.

Using turkey stock left over from Thanksgiving added an interest complexity to the dish, but was totally optional.

The roux added a little more thinkness and richness to the broth, but is also completely optional.
This was a good dish to serve on a blustering Toronto winter night with a sick kid in the house and a 24-hour fire in the living room!


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