Wednesday, November 19, 2008
What's Cooking Wednesday: Easiest (and BEST) Chicken-Noodle-Whatever Soup
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It's that time of year.
We've had several snow falls this week - some of which have "stuck" (briefly), and some of which have just been a pretty pain.
It's also a time of major cooking, cleaning, guesting, hosting, preparing... well, you get it.
And it cries, no screams, for simple, filling recipes that keep us warm and happy and yes, relaxed, if at all possible.
One of my favorite "go-to" recipes for this is a very, very simple slow cooker chicken soup. There are many "maybes" with this one, and only a couple of "have-tos". It's a 10 - 15 minute prep in the morning, a 15-minute follow-up right before dinner, and a whole lot of happy faces. Enjoy!
Jen's Easiest (and BEST) Chicken-Noodle-Whatever Soup
A leftover chicken carcass with NO SKIN (from a roast chicken or a chicken you picked up roasted, etc.) (have-to)
the chicken neck (or whatever you didn't roast with your chicken if you, in fact, roasted the chicken yourself)
2 BIG soup carrots or the equiv., peeled, with the ends chopped off (have-to)
1 honking big onion, peeled and cut in half (have-to)
a couple of stalks of celery, leaves and all, washed well, with the bottom trimmed (nice - very good if you've got it - NOT a have to)
some sprigs of fresh rosemary or a TBS of dried rosemary (again, not a have-to, but very, very nice)
a couple of cloves of smashed garlic (same as with the rosemary)
a heaping TBS of Kosher salt (HAVE-TO - unless you have salt issues, then Mrs. Dash or something like that will do)
water (I'll explain below)
any other veggies you need to use up, cracked pepper, parmesan cheese, leftover sausage, or anything else that strikes your fancy. (not have-tos)
1. Prep veggies and throw in slow cooker.
2. Tear or cut carcass in the slow cooker.
3. JUST cover the veggies and carcass with water. Note: if you have very salty well water, you'll do much better to use spring water or equiv for this - or filtered or whatever, because salty well-water will really make this taste odd).
4. Sprinkle salt, garlic and rosemary over all.
5. IF you're going to be around, set cooker for high for 1 1/2 hours and then switch to low for 6 hours more. If you're not going to be around, just set it to low for 8 - 10 hours.
6. Go do other things. All day.
7. 15 minutes or so before serving: unplug cooker.
8. Make pasta of your choice in a separate pot (yes, you can do this in the broth, but the noodles absorb too much broth and the broth gets gummy).
9. Place a colander or strainer over a large bowl in the sink. Take the cooker and pour the broth through the colander. Reserve the veggies and chicken in the colander - remove and let broth cool somewhat (it's generally VERY hot)
10. Drain pasta.
11. Prep bowls - look in your fridge for leftover veggies, cut them up, and place in bowls. Strip chicken from carcass, divide between bowls. Cut up the carrots and celery, divide in bowls. Ladle pasta into bowls.
12. Ladle broth into bowls - it will heat everything (if it's cooled too much, heat it on the stove for a moment or three before adding it to the soup bowls).
13. Put lots of cracked pepper over all. Enjoy!
I don't have exact nutrition info on this, but it is lowfat and fairly low calorie - I believe it's about 150 - 200 calories per jam-packed bowl.
Here's the stages of prep with the bowls (we had peas to use up):