Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
This is the time of year that I really appreciate the work that went into the broiler chickens that we raised the summer before. Being able to bring one of them out of the freezer, thaw it out and either stew it or bake it is very satisfying! When we raised the chickens last summer I put off butchering so that they could get more size on them. This really makes them excellent for stewing, and I end up with enough meat to make at least 2 meals.
One of our most loved mealtime favorites for stewed chicken is:
Chicken Noodle Soup
It starts with
a whole chicken, thawed, rinsed and placed in a pot filled with
enough water to almost cover the chicken. Add cleaned and chopped
carrots, celery, onion, salt, pepper and dried or fresh sage.
Rosemary or Parsley are also good with chicken. And, it isn't quite
the same, but adding dried onion and celery works well if fresh is
not available. I use what I have or need to use. I save tops of
celery, leftover onion and carrots that are too old to eat fresh to
use for broth.
Bring the pot of chicken and broth to a boil and gently simmer for a couple of hours. The chicken is done when it is tender and the legs are easily pulled apart. The pot can be simmered longer without a problem, but the longer the chicken cooks the more it will fall apart causing it to be harder to handle. Take the pot off the heat source and let the chicken and broth set until cool enough to handle.
I like to use my very large colander over a large bowl to strain the broth from the chicken and vegetables. Debone the chicken and chop into 1 inch pieces. Since my chickens are so large, I use half of the chicken for soup, and save the other half for another meal.
For chicken noodle soup I use about 1 ½ quarts of the broth. I pour this into a dutch oven and pour the remainder of the broth into a jar with lid and store in the refrigerator for use in another recipe. When the broth is simmering I add either a couple of chicken bouillon cubes or a Tablespoon of chicken base (this adds a little more salt and flavor). I also to add some of the stewed celery and carrots to this soup for color and a little added flavor. Now it is time to make the noodles!
The basic egg noodle is a very simple recipe.
Take 2 eggs and mix with a Tablespoon of water. Stir until blended then add 1 cup of flour, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp coarse ground pepper. Mix well, then add enough flour to pull it together to the consistency of bread dough. Make it into a ball and set on a floured countertop to rest for 5 minutes.
Knead, adding flour until it isn't sticky. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough thin. Keeping it well floured will help it from sticking together when it is cut into noodles. At this point the dough can either be rolled up (jelly-roll style) and cut into noodles, or a pizza cutter can be used to cut the noodles. How wide or long to make the noodles is completely personal preference. Separate the noodles, being sure to dust with flour to keep them from sticking. The noodles can be used immediately. Make sure that the broth is simmering and add the noodles in small amounts, stirring to keep them separated. Don't worry about the excess flour, it will add thickness to the soup as it cooks into the broth. After all the noodles have been added, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Time to Enjoy!
When the noodles are fully cooked, add chicken and heat through. Taste test to see if it needs anything, then ladle and serve! Chicken noodle soup is a great meal in itself and is full of nutrition. Besides that it taste wonderful! Please let me know how you make your chicken noodle soup, or if you have other noodle techniques to share.
photos by: Sherry Tucker. Top; Chicken Noodle Soup, Second; Chicken in stew pot, Third; farm fresh eggs for noodles, Bottom; Cutting noodle dough into noodles.