Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Lifesaving Chicken Noodle Soup

We get sick when school starts. It's just what we do. At the start of sixth grade, my daughter had the most outrageous giant sneezing cold ever. I'm sure kids were reluctant to sit with her for the rest of the year after she hacked all over them in the beginning. This year, she saved seventh grade friendships with an illness contained to a weekend. The virus passed to the grownups quickly and gave us one of the only sicknesses I can remember that hit my husband and I at the very same time.

It was rough.

I've reflected on our seemingly non-existent immunity extensively, and I can only figure that it's our patently anti-social behavior that robs us of the constant germ exposure most normal people experience. Hence, we get sick at the very first opportunity.

Since there's no chance we're going to become socialites to build up tolerance to these predictable sniffles, I've developed the world's best chicken noodle soup. Though it clearly couldn't stave off the common cold, I do think it cured Julia of this most recent malady. Julia was reasonably well after 48 hours. Tim and I suffered for about a week. Why? By the time the parents were sick, we were out of soup.

So I present to you, the formula for the World's Best Lifesaving Chicken Noodle Soup, manufactured in a giant vat and frozen for your winter colds, flus, and variety infirmities:

Ingredients

Leftovers of one pre-cooked rotisserie chicken (I prefer a Sam's Club chicken)
Additional chicken breast (if needed)
One or two leeks
Carrots
Italian seasoning (optional)
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Chicken bouillon cubes
Soup noodles (I prefer Berlin Natural Bakery Amish Country White Spelt Noodles. You could use other noodles, but your soup won't be the World's Best. It just won't.)
Water




Steps

  1. Purchase and consume part of a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. This is typically our easy dinner the night before soup making. Return uneaten chicken to the plastic tray and refrigerate until you're ready for step 2. Alternately, you can use a bone-in chicken breast but your soup just won't be as good as mine.
  2. Fill a large stock pot about 1/2 full of water.
  3. Place the entire remaining rotisserie chicken, bones, fat, and all into the pot of water. I do remove the little rubbery band that holds the legs together. Cooking that seems gross.
  4. Wash the leeks carefully. Dirt hides in every little crevice.
  5. Cut off the roots and the rough looking edges of the green parts. 
  6. Cut the leeks into large pieces that will fit in the pot and put the leeks in the pot with the water and chicken
  7. OPTIONAL: I only use white meat for the final soup product. If someone has eaten most of the white meat off of the rotisserie chicken, let's say a young girl that always used to eat both legs suddenly decided she'd like to eat breast meat for a change, saute an additional chicken breast in olive oil with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Simmer the water, leeks, and chicken for about 90 minutes or until the chicken is pulling away from the bones easily and the leeks are very tender.
  9. Let it cool.
  10. Strain the chunks out of the broth using a colander or strainer. Reserve the broth.
  11. Return broth to stock pot, add chopped leek (white parts only) and white meat chicken to the broth.
  12. Use the rotisserie container to dispose of dark meat chicken (unless you like that in your soup), the green parts of the leeks, and the bones.
  13. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  14. Add finely chopped carrots to the soup and simmer until carrots are tender.
  15. Drain and add cooked noodles.
  16. Serve and enjoy!
Note: The soup freezes and reheats well spelt noodles and all. If you're not using spelt, you might consider keeping the noodles separate (toss them in butter to keep them from sticking in clumps) and adding them to the broth just before you serve. Otherwise, wheat noodles tend to expand giving you a pot of gross bloated noodles.

I'll still be getting a flu shot this fall, but a good supply of my magical soup will come in handy for the next round of sniffles.