Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup

One of the grocery stores near our apartment sells tiny rotisserie chickens.  Actually, I don't think they are chickens at all, they are so small.  Cornish game hens, perhaps, but a large pigeon could put one of these tiny bundles of bird-like anatomy to shame.  Regardless of their size, they pack some tremendous flavor and are the basis of a delicious dinner (often paired with mashed potatoes and green beans with pancetta).  Soon enough, the breast meat, drummies and near-laughable wings are devoured and we're left with an adorable little pile of bones.  Now, what to do with this stockpile?  Let's make some stock!

This recipe relies heavily on using home-made chicken stock.  If you choose to buy stock instead, you will be missing out!  If you are unable to find a rotisserie chicken this small (ours are 2 lbs. max, before consumption), you can use leftovers from a larger bird as well - or just make a larger batch of stock.  In order to get a couple meals out of the rotisserie chicken, the chicken breasts can be from another source.  We usually eat the rotisserie chicken (with the sides mentioned above) for dinner then throw the stock together that night.  The next day we make the soup using fresh chicken breasts.

I prefer to use farfalline (tiny butterflies) pasta as opposed to the traditional noodles, but this is completely up to you.  I have also had some great chicken soup with thick, home-made egg noodles so go noodle crazy.  I usually don't add the pasta until I'm ready to have a bowl of soup.  To do this, I take out a portion of the soup from our reserves in the fridge, put it in a small pot, bring to a boil then add the pasta.  Farfalline cook in about five minutes so wait time is minimal.  However, if you are going to eat all of the soup immediately after cooking it, you can cook the pasta/noodles of choice toward the end of the simmer time.

  • 1 small chicken carcass (bones, skin, extra meat)
  • 1 1/2 yellow onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 or 2 carrots
  • 1/2 t. black peppercorns
  • 2 chicken breasts (not necessarily from the carcass)
  • Small noodles or pasta
  1. Add the carcass, 1 onion (quartered), 3 cloves garlic (smashed, but not peeled), 1 carrot (quartered) and peppercorns to a stock pot and fill with water
  2. Heat the stock with a low flame - 2 or 3 (out of 10) on an electric stove - for 3 to 4 hours, checking back periodically to make sure aren't losing too much water.  If this happens, just add some more and reduce the heat
  3. Place a colander in a large bowl and gently pour the finished stock into it, discarding the solid parts
  4. If you plan on making soup the following day, refrigerate the stock after it cools
  5. To make the soup, finely dice the remaining 1/2 onion, mince the garlic clove and thinly slice the carrot
  6. Add the veggies to a stock pot with some extra virgin olive oil on medium heat and sauté until tender
  7. Chop up the chicken breasts into small chunks and toss in with the veggies, cooking thoroughly.  You may have to add some more olive oil if it is too sticky
  8. Salt and pepper to taste
  9. Dump in the stock and bring to a boil
  10. Stir the soup and reduce heat to a good simmer for a half hour or so

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