Friday, March 18, 2011

Winter's Not Over Yet!

Chicken Soup for the Sniffles

Even though there are signs of spring everywhere (the pale pink cherry blossoms are an especially good omen), according to the calendar, a couple of days of winter still remain. It seems the common cold has invaded my house and infected my roommates. While there is little to be done medically other than rest, vitamin-C, and time- there is something comfortingly magical about a good bowl of chicken soup. I don't like to see people I care about feeling under the weather and knew that a big steamy bowl of this classic soup would be the perfect prescription to ensure a quick rebound . . . after all, spring is only a couple of days away! While homemade chicken soup is a little time intensive, it's incredibly easy and well-worth it.

- 1 whole chicken
- 1 bunch of Italian parsley
- 4 whole carrots, cut in half crosswise
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 4 stalks of celery, cut in half crosswise
- 1 qt. chicken broth
- 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
- fresh ground pepper
- 6 c. water
- 8 oz. egg noodles

Rinse off whole chicken and remove heart, liver, etc. Cut into quarters and place into a large stock pot. Put carrots, onion, garlic, celery, thyme, parsley sprigs, salt, and bay leaves into the pot. Cover with chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for about 2-2 1/2 hours until the chicken is cooked through, and very tender.

Remove stock pot from heat and remove chicken pieces with a pair of tongs. Be careful as the chicken will be extremely tender and falling from the bone. Set aside chicken pieces in a large bowl to cool slightly. With a slotted spoon remove vegetables and other solids from broth and place in a bowl. Slice carrot and celery pieces into bite-sized pieces and return to broth. Discard other solids (bits of bone, herbs, etc.) When chicken has cooled slightly remove meat from bones. Discard skin and bones and cut meat into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and return meat to broth.

Bring broth to a boil and add egg noodles. Boil for as half as long as the package directions indicate (usually about 4-6 minutes). The noodles will continue to boil in the hot broth and you don't want them to turn mushy. Remove soup from heat, season with additional salt and pepper if desired, and divide the soup among bowls. Eat up! It will make you feel SO good.

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