Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Rustic Chicken Noodle Soup with Spinach


OK, so when I say that this soup is rustic, I mostly mean that I photographed it outside with some woods in view. (The entire paternal ToastFamily is on vacation at the mountain house this week.) But it's also "rustic" because I threw caution to the wind and boiled the noodles directly in the soup.

There are chicken soup snobs out there who prefer to boil the noodles in their own pan of water, and thus keep the broth sparkling clear. To those people I say, phooey. The point of chicken soup is not to be beautiful. The point of chicken soup is to be easy to make, and warm and toasty, and not fancy. Also, I kind of like the starchy thickness that boiling the noodles in the broth creates.

Some enterprising soul (not me) made stock with the chicken bones leftover from last night's dinner, so when I got up today, all I had to do was skim some fat, chop some veggies, and toss it all together. What follows is also not really a recipe. Rough guidelines at best, really. Think of it as a rustic recipe for rustic soup.

***
Rustic Chicken Noodle Soup with Spinach

In a large soup pot, heat:
2 tablespoons schmaltz, skimmed fat from homemade stock, or olive oil

Add and saute until soft and starting to brown:
3 large carrots, cut in half lengthwise, then chunked up
4-5 green onions, whites and some green parts, minced
(Oddly, the grocery store near here was out of celery, other wise I would have added 2-3 stalks here.)
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
Pepper and salt, liberally added (especially the pepper--very important)

Reduce heat to low and pour in:
5-6 cups chicken stock
(as always, canned is perfectly fine, though I wouldn't go as far as bouillon in this case)

While the stock gently heats, add:
Some cooked chicken
(The amount is completely up to you. I used two leg quarters, which I poached in a pan of boiling water while doing the other stuff in this recipe, then pulled apart. That amount seemed about right for the broth I had. If you have leftover already-cooked chicken, use that. I recommend dark meat, but if you prefer white meat, go for it. What I'm saying here is: Whatever, dude.)

Ten minutes before you're ready to eat, bring the broth to a boil and add:
A handful and a half of dried egg noodles
(Only egg noodles are acceptable in chicken noodle soup. Wide ones for preference. Toying with noodle type is not OK.)

When the noodles are al dente, add:
6 ounces (3 handfuls) baby spinach

Reduce heat to low and let simmer until spinach wilts and noodles are suitably mushy.

78 comments:

Rachel said...

I lvoe any recipe that starts off with schmaltz

Alanna said...

A separate pot for the noodles??? Too funny! Guess I'm in the 'rustic' crowd!

Mae said...

This sounds and look super delicious. A real comfort hug in a bowl! I totally agree with you on boiling the noodles in the soup in this instance.

When i cook elbow pasta chicken soup, i cook the pasta in the broth too.

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