Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Lunch Week 32: Chicken Noodle Soup

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Chicken Noodle Soup
Although this is chicken noodle soup, I used turkey stock in. The stock was made from the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving. It's the only time of the year that I get to make turkey stock and it's amazing. The roasting really deepens the flavor. There will be no fried turkey in my house, for sure. Anyway, I also had leftover raw vegetables from the holiday and used that as well. I guess this week's lunch is another Thanksgiving leftover recipe but you can really make this at any time of the year.
I start the soup by cooking the chicken. I take boneless, skinless chicken thighs and slowly poach them until cooked through. I immerse the chicken in cold water and set it over high heat. When the water reaches a boil, I lower the heat so it slowly cooks. This leaves the chicken juicy and tender.
When the chicken is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes, remove from water. Save the broth that's leftover. This will be added to the soup. It holds a lot of rich chicken flavor. Skim the excess fat if you desire.
Let the chicken cool before you handle it. It'll reabsorb the juices as it rests.
Once cool, chop up into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
In the meantime, saute the chopped vegetables in a large stock pot. Season with salt and pepper. Here I used carrots, celery, and onions. A also added in some garlic later on. Once soften, strain the chicken broth and add to the vegetables. I strained the broth to remove the impurities like clotted blood. Then add 2 quarts of turkey stock and bring up to a boil.
Once at a rolling boil, add a pound of pasta and cook until softened. Then reintroduce the chicken and add the frozen peas/beans. Bring back to a boil. And then it's ready!
Be careful not to add too much pasta as it will continue to absorb the liquid even as it cools. I prefer my soup chunkier but feel free to add more water or stock to the pot to your own liking. The best thing about soup is that you add whatever you like. Change up the vegetables or even the meat. It's really versatile.

Chicken Noodle Soup
Makes 10 servings

Ingredients
15 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
5 large carrots, chopped
1 head of celery, chopped
4 onions, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 quarts of turkey stock
1/2 to 1 lb small dried pasta
1 lb frozen french cut string beans
Oil
Salt
Pepper

Directions
1. In a medium pot, add chicken thighs and cover with cold water. Heat on medium high heat until boiling. Lower heat to medium and simmer chicken until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and let cool. Reserve chicken broth. When chicken is cool enough to handle, chop into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
2. In a heated large stock pot, add about 3 tablespoons of oil. Then add chopped carrots, celery, and onions. Salt and pepper to taste. When softened, about 15 minutes, strain chicken broth into large stock pot. Add turkey stock. Cover and bring to boil.
3. When at a rolling boil, add pasta and cook until softened about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
4. Add chicken and beans. Bring soup back up to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Ladle and serve while hot.

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