Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is good for the soul.  It's also a good way to warm up when you start thinking that spring is on the way and then Mother Nature decides it's going to snow all weekend.  Okay, so there's been little to no accumulation, but that's not the point.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but Joe hates chicken.  Naturally, I love chicken.  I've had some drumsticks hanging out in the freezer for awhile.  Joe was supposed to help a friend move after work on Saturday, so I figured that I could re-purpose my drumsticks into chicken soup and everyone would be happy.

His buddy ended up not needing any help, I still got to make my chicken soup (first time ever!), and we had a warm and satisfying dinner.

I am including a recipe for this one, but it's really not a hard-and-fast recipe.  You can add more veggies or less veggies depending on what you have or what you like.  If you have more chicken - use it.  The recipe's pretty flexible, which is what I like about it - you can make it suit your needs without impacting the taste.

I cooked my pasta directly in the soup.  This was easy, since it meant less dishes.  I did a LOT of dishes this weekend, but I guess that's what happens when you make soup, muffins and brownies (those posts coming soon!).  It also made more sense to me.  It came out great, but alas, two people cannot eat a full stockpot of chicken noodle soup in one sitting.  I put the leftovers in the fridge and when I went to have some for lunch today, there was no more broth!  Apparently, I didn't stop to think about the pasta absorbing all of the liquid.  I did some quick google-foo which told me I could add some water to my serving of leftovers when I warmed it up and that would make it more soupy and cut down on the thickness.  It works, but then the liquid doesn't taste that great - it pretty much tastes like water, since it didn't get a chance to hang out and get all the flavor like everything else did.  It was still delicious as leftovers and I'm bringing some to work tomorrow, so don't let that deter you.  However, the easiest remedy for that is to cook your pasta separately and then pour the soup over the pasta for each individual serving.  When you put the leftovers away, keep them in separate containers and warm them up the same way.

Either way, for my first time making chicken soup, I would classify this as a huge success!   For some reason, even though chicken soup was so easy to make, the fact that I did it makes me feel really accomplished.  I think it's the Jewish gramma in me.. now, when I'm sick, I don't have to call my mom or my gramma - I can do it myself!  When other people are sick, I can make them feel better.. or at least feed them something yummy! I've been wanting to learn how to make soup for awhile, so now that I know I can do it, I'm excited to try other kinds - chowder, cream of broccoli, baked potato.. I'm looking at you!

What's your favorite kind of soup?

Chicken Soup
To print this recipe, click here

1 lb. chicken drumsticks (I used 6 of them)
7-8 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
half an onion, diced
2 tsp. minced garlic
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp. parsley flakes
2 bay leaves
half box of pasta, uncooked

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot.  Fill the stock pot with enough to water to completely cover all of the ingredients, with enough room for everything to move around once the water starts boiling.  I filled my pot to about an inch from the top.

Cover the pot and let everything boil on medium-high heat for about 30 minutes.  Turn off the heat and remove the chicken.  Once chicken is cool enough to handle, take the meat off the bone.  Cut or chop the meat into bite-size pieces and return to the pot.  Cover and simmer over low heat for 1-2 hours.

When ready to eat, bring the soup to a boil and add noodles directly to the soup.  Alternately (and this is a better option if you're planning on leftovers), cook pasta separately.  When ready to serve, put pasta in a bowl and pour the soup over the noodles.  Store leftovers separately in the fridge.

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