I’m a little behind in my O Magazine reading and I was finishing up the October issue. There was an article on soups and the picture for the chicken soup just looked really good. I decided to try to make it. Now I have never made chicken soup before. This may surprise you. What Jewish girl has never made chicken soup? Well this one! I only learned how to make split pea soup a year ago January. Until I moved up here I never really was a soup person. I suppose moving to a colder winter climate will make you a soup person. But I digress. Let’s move on to the chicken soup. The recipe is in two parts, making the stock then making the soup. Last Sunday I get all of the ingredients needed for the stock and soup.
1 whole chicken, halved and cleaned, plus 6 chicken wings
3 carrots, trimmed
1 onion, peeled
2 leeks, thoroughly rinsed
4 celery stalks
3 parsnips, trimmed
1 bay leaf
1/2 bunch parsley
1 whole lemon
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch coins
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 Tbsp. chopped dill
1 pound egg noodles
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the stock: In a large pot, combine all ingredients and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to the barest simmer and cook 4 hours, occasionally skimming the scum off the surface. Strain stock into a large bowl and discard solids except for chicken halves; set those aside.
To make soup: In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery. Cook about 10 minutes. Add 6 cups stock. Cook 25 minutes, or until vegetables are very tender.
Meanwhile, pull chicken into shreds from reserved chicken halves; discard skin and bones. Add chicken to stock, along with dill and noodles and cook until noodles are al dente, 8 to 10 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper (the stock is unsalted; it may need more than you think). Serve hot.
The first thing I thought was weird was the lemon. But I went with it. The second thing was the dill. I am not a dill person so I didn’t bother to buy any. I didn’t have any extra wings so I didn’t bother with those either. And you can’t buy egg noodles at Safeway in any quantity other than 12 ounces so that would just have to do.
I proceeded to make the stock and after 4 hours tried to strain it. Well the pot is really big and I had nothing to strain it into. Also it was really freaking hot! So I used tongs to try to pull the vegetables out and into a separate bowl (most of them ended up going to the dogs). I strained some of the stock to separate the 6 cups for the soup. Then I strained the rest into a bowl. The chicken was so over cooked that it was a big lump in the strainer. And it was really freaking hot! It took a long time to get the chicken meat separated from the bones because none of the meat was in any recognizable form. I finally got that all separated while the onions, carrots, and celery were cooking in the 6 cups of stock.
When it came time to add the noodles I noticed that 6 cups of stock barely fills the dutch oven half way. So before I added the noodles, I added two more cups of stock. I added the noodles and then added still two more cups of stock. It still wasn’t enough so I added two more cups of stock. In reality I should have just added back all of the stock. Or I should have cut the noodles to half a bag. What idiot thinks that you boil a bag of egg noodles in a mere 6 cups of liquid?
Then it came time to add the chicken. It cooked so long that it didn’t really have much structural integrity left and it ended up just being strings of chicken in the soup.
Thomas & I had it for dinner that night and it was ok. The next day I took the dutch oven out of the refrigerator and the noodles had absorbed all of the remaining liquid. It was no longer soup it was sort of a stew. I fed it to my mom for lunch (after adding more stock) and she wasn’t overly impressed.
I’ve had good home made chicken soup, so I know it is possible. Julie, do you think Dave will share his recipe?