Monday, January 10, 2011

Soup Again? Chicken Noodle in a Hurry!

I've not made it a secret lately that, this winter, I've been under the weather quite a bit.  That being said (no point beating it to death here), I've been making and eating a lot of soup.  Believe it or not I have another pot of soup on the stove as I write this (Lentil Soup -- about which I will probably write tomorrow).

It's a good thing Dave loves soup so much  --  he'd be sick of it by now and might rebel. Maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing -- it might force him to cook more than he does. Honestly, as much as I love to cook, I love a break from standing at the stove every once in awhile.  Kind of like Groucho Marx and his cigar -- but that's another story...

This is my cheater's version of Chicken Noodle Soup.  I make this when I can barely function. I should defend myself here by saying that many's a time have I made homemade Chicken Noodle Soup from scratch with not only homemade chicken stock, but also homemade noodles.  The soup I'm talking about here does not fall into the homemade category.  It is made.  It is made at home.  However, I use canned or premade stock and purchased noodles.  What can I say?  When I'm dragging hiney and sicker than a dog, I don't want to slam out noodles from scratch or cook a whole chicken, roast the bones, and make stock from scratch.  I just want comfort -- quick comfort.

Why, you may ask, don't I just open a can of Chicken Noodle Soup.  I'm not that desperate and my taste buds are not dead -- yet. There's some off-putting flavor in every single canned Chicken Noodle Soup I've ever tried.  It's there close to the surface and I can't put my finger on it -- something akin to wet chicken feathers and something else that's a little harsher and chemically.  Can't stand that flavor. However, making my soup with a good quality pre-made stock and purchased noodles allows me to control the seasonings, herbs, and amount of veggies in there.

I suppose I should have a ton of homemade chicken stock in the freezer and a bag of homemade dried noodles squirreled away in the cupboard.  While that is a lofty goal, in reality, that's probably never going to happen -- at least in my world.

I make my soup with chicken thighs.  I really think thighs have the best flavor of all chicken meat. I also add a boatload of carrot slices, and cabbage.  I know that cabbage isn't standard in most Chickie soups but I like it. It adds great flavor, a natural sweetness, and a bunch of vitamin C to the soup -- something one needs when nursing a cold.

So, the next time you're dragging from a cold or the flu, throw a pot of this relatively quick Chicken Noodle Soup on the stove.  It really will help you get through a bad case of the yucks.

Chicken Noodle Soup in a Hurry
Makes 6 main dish servings

1  pound chicken thighs, skinned but left on the bone
2 quarts chicken stock, boxed or canned, a good quality variety if possible  but Swanson's is okay too
6 carrots, scrubbed and sliced in coins
1 small bag Kluski style noodles
1 medium onion diced
2 cups cabbage chopped
1 chicken bullion cube (I use Knorr because I like the flavor)
1/4 cup dry vermouth (optional but it does improve the soup's flavor and it will help make you feel better)
1 tsp dried rosemary  (use less if you prefer but I love rosemary)
1/2 tsp dried sage, crumbled finely (Sage adds a lovely savory flavor to the soup)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt or to taste (I use Morton's here)
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper or to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Skin chicken thighs by grabbing the edge of the skin with a paper towel and pull.  The towel helps you keep your grip on the skin. Trim visible fat but leave the meat on the bone.

Put thighs and broth in a medium stock pot or soup pot. Add carrots, onions, bullion cube, seasonings and herbs - reserving noodles, cabbage and parsley for later.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat. 
Simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove chicken thighs from stock and set aside.  When cool, remove meat from bones and shred.
Skim fat from stock.
Bring stock back to a boil, add noodles to stock.  When stock comes back to boil again, reduce heat to a strong simmer and cook 10 minutes.

Add cabbage and cook for 5 minutes more, or until cabbage wilts.

Add shredded chicken meant back to pot, stir in parsley and adjust seasonings and serve.  

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