Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Austin's Chicken Soup II: Easy and Reasonably Quick

A friend of mine were talking today about the yummiest Chicken Noodle Soup she'd ever had (we're having a church thing tomorrow and we're all bringing soups) and she wanted the recipe BUT the woman who had made it just threw in pinches of this and that...  So I said I'd write down my chicken noodle soup recipe.  It's the same receipe for chicken, for beef and for turkey noodle soup. 

I love to make this soup and eat it all week for lunch.  It's quick, it's healthy, and oh wow, is it yummy.  :)

It looks like a lot of work, but IT'S NOT.  I just want to make it clear you can't dump all of these things into one pot and be done.  They need to be taken care of individually then added together for the grand finale.  If you're a fast chopper and your meat's thawed, you can be done in 30 minutes or less.

Category: chicken, soup, noodles, comfort food, beef, turkey
Preheat: --

Part One: Meat
1-2 chicken breast halves, seasoned, cooked and cubed (when I say halves, it's half of what the chicken originally had on her in life; also I like my chicken baked or stir-fried.)
1 small beef shoulder or butt, seasoned cooked and cubed(I use my crockpot.  I'll have to put that recipe on here later, too)
1/2 turkey breast, seasoned, cooked and cubed
(If you want to cheat, and don't we all!) Abt. 12 oz. Canned chicken meat / turkey meat

1.  Set meat aside.  You can do this step the night before.  It's perfectly fine to add cold meat to the final soup... it'll heat up fast!

Part Two: Noodles & Potatoes
12-16 ounces noodles:
  • spaghetti noodles, broken up
  • spiral noodles (these tend to suck up too much water--this is your fair warning!)
  • fettucine noodles
  • (etc.)
(opt, but recommended) 4-6 Potatoes, chopped
2 t. Salt

1.  Add salt to the water (enough to cover everything, plus an inch.  use your eyeballs to measure , or like I do, fill the water up to the handles) and start it boiling.

2.  Add potatoes.  Boil for two minutes.

3.  Add noodles.  Boil for package directions, until the noodles are al denteIn other words, don't cook them until they're soft!  They should not be crunchy, but not super-soft, either.  8 1/2 minutes should be good  for any noodle that says 10 minutes on the package.

4.  Drain.  All of the cooking shows say to retain a little pasta water.  It helps thicken things up a little later on  I say reserve if you can remember and if it's easy... and then only 2 cups.

5.  Set aside.  Again, you can do this earlier.  In fact, sometimes I cook double the pasta when I'm making it for dinner, putting the 2nd half in the fridge.  Of course you still have to do the potatoes if you're putting those in the soup.

Part Three:
1 whole medium or large onion (yellow or sweet), finely diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
(opt, but recommended) 4 Carrots, sliced
(opt, but recommended) 4 stalks of Celery, chopped
(opt, but recommended) 6 Mushrooms, diced
(opt) 4 Zucchini, finely diced
(opt) 1-3 Jalapeno, diced (this changes the flavor slightly and deepens it, AND gives a nice little je ne sais quoi)
1/2 Tablespoon Butter (Usually you add more, but I opted for a little butter fat for flavor and sub in the olive oil for a heart-healthy fat.)
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
(opt) 1/4 c. Flour

1.  Get the butter and olive oil combo hot in a large sauté pan

2.  Lower the heat to medium-high (between 7 and 8 on an electric range) and add all vegetables and stir them around to get them coated.

3.  Put the lid on the pan for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to keep everything even.

4.  Test carrots for doneness.  You should be able to easily pierce them with a fork.

5.  If you want more than broth, turn off the heat and sprinkle the optional flour over the vegetables.  Stir it in.

Part Four: Broth and Throwing it All Together
16 cups Chicken broth (preferably made from chicken base), divided
1 T black pepper

1.  Whisk up 8 cups of broth and put it into the big pot.  You're ALMOST DONE.  :)

2.  If thickening with flour, stir in vegetables and stir everything up really well.  Bring to a boil.

3.  Simmer for a few minutes.

4.  Add noodles, potatoes, meat and another 8 cups of broth.

2.  Heat everything through for about 5 minutes.

CAUTION: If you leave noodles in the soup, they will continue to expand!!  Most reasonable adults will add the noodles right before eating, or what I do is reheat individual portions in the microwave.  Proceed at your own risk.

I'm making this for our get-together tomorrow, so I will reheat the broth/vegetables tomorrow... and after it's hot, add the noodles, potatoes and chicken.  I'll heat it through and then RUN over to the church.  :)

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