Several years ago, Mom called me with exciting news: she had been experimenting with her chicken soup recipe, trying out something new, and the result was especially tasty. Did we want to come over for supper and try it? Did we! It was amazing–a dark, rich broth surrounded by big bites of chicken and chewy, plump noodles. Steaming hot. Yum. It was perfect.
After supper, I sat down with her and wrote down her new recipe, and I’ve used it ever since to make my own chicken and noodles. I’ve lost the actual recipe I wrote down, so I asked Mom if she could review it with me, since I had intentions of sharing it. “Which recipe?” she asked. I reminded her of this one, where you roast all the soup ingredients before making the stock.
She didn’t remember it. “I’ll be darned,” she said. As is her wont, she had gotten bored and had moved on to a new recipe. But I’m still using this one. It’s the best.
- Chicken pieces (a couple of old hens, or excess non-meaty pieces that you’ve been hoarding in the freezer, or a whole chicken with skin, cut up. Feet are a really nice–and nutritious–addition if you have them! Also, it’s amusing to see them floating about in your stockpot.)
- Two chopped onions
- 3-4 stalks of celery, including leaves, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 carrots
- handful of parsley
- other vegetable scraps you may have squirreled away: carrot peelings, leek trimmings, etc.
- 8-10 potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 tsp curry
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 eggs, preferably farm eggs
- 2-3 cups of flour
- pinch of salt
Step 1: Noodle-making should be done the day before, to make sure your noodles are dry. Beat eggs and salt until lemon-colored, and then add flour, one cup at a time. Keep working the flour into the eggs with a fork, and when the mixture is very stiff, turn out on a floured surface and begin to flatten with a rolling pin. Continue to add a dusting of flour until dough is very thin. Roll dough as thin as you can, and then cut in thin strips, one-quarter inch if possible. Add more flour and run your floured fingers through the noodles to separate. Set aside to dry–on paper grocery bags, or a baking rack if you have one. Turn noodles over once so they dry on both sides. Your noodles are ready to use or to store (in the freezer is best) at this point.
Step 2: Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a deep roaster pan, or a jelly roll pan, with foil. Roast the meat and vegetables above in the oven until everything is nicely browned, (not the potatoes) turning the larger pieces when needed, approximately 45 minutes. Then dump the whole mess into your stock pot, cover with water, and put on the stove top. Bring all this to a boil, turn down to simmer, and cover. Simmer for another 45 minutes or so (this depends on the age of the bird–if it is an old hen, you may need to simmer longer), occasionally pushing the chicken pieces down under the broth, and adding more water if necessary. Remove from heat.
Step 3: Remove chicken from broth to cool. Strain broth and put into the refrigerator to cool. When chicken is cool, remove meat from bones and chop. Discard bones, veins, etc. If you cool the broth overnight, the fat will rise to the top and you can remove it easily. If you want a richer broth, or if you want your soup now, just skip the cooling step.
Step 4: Bring strained broth to a simmer, and then add quartered potatoes and continue cooking on medium heat. Add noodles to broth a handful at a time, stirring slowly to avoid breaking them. Add water to broth as needed. Add chicken chunks to pot and continue to cook on low heat. The noodles will thicken the broth, but if you want it even thicker, mash some of the potato chunks. Salt and pepper to taste, and add curry.
That’s it! The best chicken and noodles you’ve ever eaten!
(Credit to whom credit is due: Mom says this recipe was originally adapted from a recipe in the “Nebraska Kitchens Cookbook Volume I,” an excellent cookbook and one of my favorites. More importantly, it’s one of my Mom’s favorites. It can be purchased here.)
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