Sunday, January 31, 2010

Better than Mama's Chicken Noodle Soup

Thank you for all of the encouraging words after my not so happy week!  I went and redeemed my massage yesterday and splurged on a pedicure too.  Bliss!

I've been inspired by all the cooking blogs and thought I'd throw this recipe in today even though its not quilting related.  Its what's for dinner at my house tonight.

My husband and his family are Jewish and I have learned that everything that ails you can be cured (well at least made a whole lot better) with Jewish penicillin- aka chicken noodle soup.  If you're feeling like doing it all the way (which I am today) you can make chicken noodle matzo ball soup.  I'd never made matzo balls before a few years ago and was intimidated at the thought of them.  No fears!  They are eaaasssy!

So here is my hubby tested and approved recipe.  It has been deemed better than his mother's- Shhhh....don't tell her!!

This makes A LOT of soup- 8+ generous (and I mean generous) servings.

  • Chicken- Either buy 1-2 precooked rotisserie chickens from your grocery store (usually they are small) or roast your own bird.  If I am planning on eating roasted chicken and then making soup I definitely make two.  The bigger the better! Today I'm using two of the store bought precooked birdies!  Bigger birds = more stock.  I love to freeze this so I make a lot.
  • Stock/broth- I cheat a little to get my stock started.   Today I used 10 cups of stock and then add water to it, but this depends on how much soup you want leftover/size of your bird(s). 
  • Carrots- Again, depends on how much you like carrots and how much soup you want.  Today I used a 2# bag.
  • Celery (one bag)
  • 2 onions (one large, one medium/small)
  • Seasoning- bay leaves, dill, basil, salt, pepper 
  • Matzo ball mix- look at the back of the box for extra ingredients (usually it calls for eggs and vegetable oil)
  • Noodles- I prefer fine egg noodles. 

Step one: Making the stock
  • Take the larger pieces of chicken off of your birds.  I usually just take off the breast meat.  Chop it up and reserve it for later.
  • Put the rest of the carcass (skin too) in your biggest stock pot.
  • Chop up the big onion into wedges and put it in.
  • Chop up 2-3 sticks of celery into 2-3" pieces and throw that in too.
  • Cover with stock and add some water- today I added about 7 extra cups.
  • Put in dill, salt, pepper, and basil- I just shake it in until I think it looks good.  Add 2 bay leaves
  • Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Cook covered for several hours (usually 2-3) until all the meat is off of the bones.
**During this stage I make my Matzo balls- just follow the package directions.  Today I made a double batch which called for 4 eggs and 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil.  Usually you mix the matzo mix, eggs, and oil together and then refrigerate for 15 min.  Next you form the balls, put in boiling water, and simmer for 20 min.  That's it!

  • When everything is off the bones strain and save the stock.  Throw out the remains. My grandma and my mom always argue about this step when making any kind of stock.  Grandma saves the meat at this point, mom throws it out.  If there are big pieces of meat feel free to fish them out before discarding the rest.  Usually the meat is pretty stringy after simmering for many hours and that's why I reserve meat at the start.

Step two: Making the soup
  • Return stock to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
  • Reseason with dill, salt, pepper, and basil.
  • Peel and chop carrots, cut up the remainder of the celery (including the leafy tops!), and cut up half of your small/medium onion (you can use more if you like things to be really oniony- just don't forget that you had a whole large onion flavoring the stock).

  • Rinse the carrots under cold water to remove some of the orange color. That way your soup won't be dyed.
  • Add celery and onions to stock and cook until mostly tender/done.
  • Add carrots and cook until done.
  • Meanwhile cook your egg noodles to the directions on the bag.  I like to keep my noodles separate from the soup so everyone can make their bowl as noodley as desired.
  • Add your reserved and chopped up chicken into the soup
  • Add the premade matzo balls to the soup to heat them up for a few minutes

    Step three: Assemble and Eat!
    • Put it all together in your bowl and serve with yummy bread (I made some Italian herb bread in my Zojirushi bread machine)

    • Enjoy!! Let those worries fade away.
    • Freeze your leftovers- matzo balls and all.  I usually have enough for several dinners. 


    Connie said...

    Hi, this look very good. and on a cold day like today it would be good. The quilt is 80 x 951/2 so it is a big top but I haven't decided if I will machine quilt it or by hand.

    Sarah said...

    Wow! That sounds SOOOOOOO good! I wonder if we can get matzo ball mix here is Brisbane, Australia. I really want to try them!

    ---"Love" said...

    Mmmmmmm----looks delicious! Wish I had some right now! I make chicken noodle soup often, but have never had matzo balls. That bread looks delicious too! ---"Love"

    Beth said...

    My husband is Jewish too. I make matzo ball soup, but not from scratch. Yours looks soooo good, It is my favorite!
    Glad you had your massage and pedicure.
    You are due a great week now! Beth

    a good yarn said...

    Thanks Christine! It's great to have an authentic recipe. I'm looking forward to soup weather. Ann :-)

    What Comes Next? said...

    I think I can smell it! It looks sooooo good, I may have to go find me some chickens.
    Glad you took a day to treat yourself.

    Katie said...

    MMMMMM! That looks and sounds delicious. I think I'm going to have to try it, though minus the matzo balls, as the hubby hates anything that even MIGHT be doughy. I've always wanted to make stock from scratch but it seems intimidating. You've made it look easy, so I do believe this is going to get put on the menu soon! Thanks so much for sharing...and remember, quilters always know the best stuff to eat and often are fantastic cooks to boot!

    Liriopia said...

    I am making chicken-in-the-crockpot for dinner tonight (started it cooking this morning). The chicken is great the first night and everything that cooks in the pot makes a dynamite chicken soup the second night. Never thought of adding matzoh balls though! I cook my noodles separately, too. Something I learned from my husband's grandmother. I will toast you with chicken broth at dinner tonight. Enjoy!

    Breezy Bree said...

    ooooh i now want a matzo ball.....

    Fer said...

    YUM!!! I'll have to remember this for when it's winter here!

    Purple Quilter Queen said...

    Hi Christine! You might want to go over and check out my blog!! I've got good news! Your recipe looks delish! Jenn

    Julie Wasson said...

    We have the same dishes! Can't wait to see you this weekend. I am getting some yards ready for one yard wonders