Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup--in a HURRY!

A few weeks back everyone in the house was sick--time for chicken noodle soup! But, I didn’t have a chicken to roast and then simmer for hours to make stock, blah, blah blah. What I had was 30 minutes to get dinner on the table. So, this is my in a hurry chicken noodle soup. I started with boneless skinless chicken breasts, because that’s what I had. You could easily use thighs here or a combination and it would be great. You actually don’t want to start with already cooked chicken because we need to develop some flavor since we don’t have a long cooked stock. Generously sprinkle with Herb Grilling Blend. This is my favorite recipe for this blend I've ever made! It adds a nice poultry seasoning type flavor because it has some sage--a great blend! Heat some Butter Grapeseed Oil (or Natural Grapeseed Oil) in a large stockpot and slap in those seasoned chicken breasts. You'll notice that there is a lot of liquid here in my pot--it's not all oil. Actually I was using frozen chicken breasts--I was that unprepared! Now walk away and let them brown--especially if you are using a nonstick pot like this one.

When you give the chicken a little time to brown without moving it, you'll get a rich golden browning which equals a lot of extra flavor in this short cook soup.

Beautiful! Now there is a major lack of pictures coming up because quite simply I was in a huge hurry to get this on the table. So just imagine a nice pile of cut onions, celery, carrots and green beans. Use what your family likes veggie-wise. I used 1 whole onion, 2 stalks of celery (not a favorite around here, but I feel the flavor is a must in chicken noodle soup) 5 or 6 carrots, sliced and about 1/2 pound fresh green beans, cut in half. After the chicken is nicely browned, remove from pot and place on a cutting board. (Note: your chicken need not be done all the way through--mine wasn't since it started out frozen.) Dump your veggies into the stockpot and brown them. You want to get some color on the edges, but not burned. My finicky electric stove has some trouble with this concept--hopefully you get along better with your stove. While the veggies are sauteing, shred/cut your chicken. If it isn't done all the way through, you won't be able to actually shred it--just get it into bite size pieces you want to see on your soup spoon.

Back to the pot: add some low-sodium chicken broth. I like the Pacific brand boxes or the Better than Bouillon base from Costco. The latter is what I used. You'll need about 8 cups--but again, depends on how your family likes it. You can always add more later on. Bring to a boil and add noodles of your choice (see my choice below!). Boil until noodles are almost done, then add the chicken back to the pot. Simmer gently until chicken is done through and veggies are tender. In case you're wondering, you don't want to add the chicken back to the pot before you add the noodles because you want to boil your noodles so they don't stick together but you only want to simmer when the chicken is in because you don't want to make it tough. Since you are using chicken breasts, you must be careful not to boil hard when the chicken is in the mix--it will dry it out. Check for seasonings--I added another teaspoon or so of the Herb Grilling Blend.

Now for the noodles: I have made these noodles lots of times, so they are fast for me. If you are really pressed for time, this isn't a good idea. Just throw in some wide egg noodles and call it good, vowing to try these another time. This noodle recipe has been in my family for as long as I can remember. See that little orange 3 x 5 card in the back--it's the original recipe my Mom wrote for me. My Mom always made them for turkey noodle soup after Thanksgiving. She likes to let them dry a bit before cooking, but as you know by now, I was in a hurry. You get a little more of a dumpling texture when you don't dry them. Honestly, my kids love them however I make them, so try them out--you'll be glad! I made these while the veggies were simmering.

1 tsp. salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 T. oil (I used Natural Grapeseed Oil)

Blend salt and flour in a bowl. Crack eggs in a measuring cup and whisk up. Add water to make 3/4 cup total liquid. Pour egg/water mixture and oil on top of flour and blend with a fork. Dump on a lightly floured surface and knead 2-3 times until you have a cohesive ball. Roll out as thin as you can. Seriously, keep rolling. (see the above picture) Sometimes it helps me to divide the ball in half before I start so I don't end up with such a gigantic circle at the end. Cut into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Let dry a little, if you have time. Keep liquid at a good boil while cooking these so they don't stick together. It's okay if there is a little extra flour on the noodle surface when you throw them in the soup.

Noodles, and my lovely pink Corian!

The finished soup! Seriously make this the next time you have sickies in the house--the Herb Grilling Blend adds such a great flavor combined with the browning of the chicken--they'll never know it only took 30 minutes!

1 comment:

link2literacy said...

OH! YuM! Looks SO good, and there is NOTHING like homemade noodles. I did try to make them years ago, but they didn't turn out too great. The closest I've come to that homemade goodness is Grandmas Noodles. I've found them in freezers in MOST stores - even Walmart.

I seriously LOVE reading your descriptions, too. So fun. Much love, Renae