The Reluctant Blogger


Chicken noodle soup, two ways
April 17, 2012, 2:45 pm
Filed under: Soup

My February dinner recap alluded to two different chicken noodle soups, both of which start very similarly – a whole chicken in a big pot of water – but aside from their beginnings and the fact that both soups have noodles, the two couldn’t be more different. The first soup – what likely comes to mind when you hear the words “chicken noodle soup” (unless a red and white can comes to mind) – is full of the requisite chicken, complemented by carrots, onions, celery, and tender but slightly chewy homemade noodles  in a parsley-flecked broth. The other – a substantial improvement (if I do say so myself) on the coconut milk based soup you’ve likely encountered in nearly every Thai restaurant you’ve visited – is heavy on mushrooms, bamboo shoots, baby corn, and noodles more likely to be found in pho than in chicken noodle soup. Both are delicious, and can take the chill off these wet and windy early spring days.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Noodles
For the chicken and broth
1 whole chicken (including neck if it’s in the bag of goodies)
2 tbsp sea salt
2 bay leaves
1 onion, quartered
2 medium carrots, cut into three inch lengths
2 stalks celery, cut into three inch lengths

Place the chicken, salt, bay leaves, celery, carrots, and onion in a large pot and cover the chicken by an inch with cold water, then put on the stove over medium low heat and simmer for three to four hours. Don’t let it boil. After the chicken has finished simmering, remove it from the pot and set aside to allow it to cool enough to remove the meat, then remove the meat from the bones and skin and cut or tear it into bite-sized pieces. Strain the chicken broth and taste for seasoning, then return it to a simmer.

For the noodles
2 eggs
200 grams flour
2 tsp sea salt

After putting the chicken on to simmer, make the noodles. Combine the egg, flour, and salt. I like to use a food processor and pulse the dough until it resembles small peas.(Although our doughs are slightly different, Tea has a good tutorial with pictures of what the dough should look like. She also has helpful pictures of how to make the dough by hand or with a stand mixer.) If your dough is too dry, add water a few drops at a time, just until the dough resembles small peas, but be careful, as wet dough is a nightmare to work with. When your dough is ready, wrap it in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for at least an hour.

Vegetables, and to serve
3 medium carrots, quartered and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3 stalks celery, halved and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil or butter
1/4 cup chopped parsley, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste

While the pasta dough rests and the chicken simmers, saute carrots, celery and onion in oil over medium heat for about seven minutes, or until tender but not mushy. Set aside.

When the chicken is done, bring a pot of water to boil and roll out the noodles (see link to good tutorial, above, or this post). Once the chicken has been removed from the bones, cook the noodles. Add the sauteed vegetables, chicken, and parsley to the simmering broth, then drain the noodles and stir them into the soup. Serve immediately, with more parsley if desired.

Make ahead: I’ll often make the soup, save for rolling out and cooking the noodles, over the weekend and then just throw together the noodles and heat up the soup on a weeknight. If you assemble it but leave out the parsley and noodles, it holds well for a few days, and also freezes well. When you’re ready to eat, warm the broth/veggies/chicken mixture up, stir in the parsley, cook the noodles separately then stir into the soup and eat.

Thai-style chicken noodle soup
For the chicken and broth
1 whole chicken
2 tbsp sea salt
2-3 inch piece of galangal, sliced into 1/2 inch slices, or 1/3 cup dried slices of galangal (or ginger, if you can’t find galangal, but it will be different)
5-6 kaffir lime leaves
2-3 stalks lemongrass, cut into 3 inch lengths
2-3 birds eye chiles
stems from one bunch of cilantro
2 large shallots, halved

Place chicken, salt, galangal, lime leaves, lemongrass, chiles, cilantro stems, and shallots in a large pot and cover the chicken by an inch with cold water, then put on the stove over medium low heat and simmer for three to four hours. Don’t let it boil. After the chicken has finished simmering, remove it from the pot and set aside to allow it to cool enough to remove the meat, then remove the meat from the bones and skin and cut or tear it into bite-sized pieces. Strain the chicken broth and taste for seasoning, then return it to a simmer.

To finish the soup
1/2-3/4 lb cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 small can sliced bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed
1 can baby corn, drained and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 can coconut milk
1/2 package wide rice noodles, cooked and drained

When you have removed the chicken from the bones and skin and strained the broth, add the mushrooms, bamboo shoots, baby corn and coconut milk to the chicken broth and return the soup to a simmer. Cook for five to ten minutes or until the mushrooms are tender, then stir in the chicken. Put the rice noodles in the bottom of your serving bowls, ladle the soup over the noodles, and serve immediately.

Make ahead: I’ll often prepare the soup, save for the rice noodles, a day or two ahead and just reheat it and cook the noodles before serving.

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