Friday, January 7, 2011

Winter Chicken Noodle Soup

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The remnants of the crippling Christmas snowstorm are still visible here in New York City. The dirty snow drifts slowly melt into the crowded sidewalks, littered with uncollected mountains of trash. As I write, fluffy snowflakes fall steadily outside the living room window. Media outlets are vying to see if the city implements lessons learned from last week’s accumulation. Mike just departed for work, looking especially handsome in his new snow boots and cozy flannel shirt.

And yet this impending snow storm provides a feeling of excitement, the same feeling a child receives on a snow day from school. Once both parties safely return home from work, there is something incredibly romantic about a snowed-in weekend. We stocked our groceries, ran any pressing errands, and now have nowhere to go, nowhere to be for the next two days. We have shelves lined with books, a fancy new Scrabble board, and an endless supply of Mike’s recently bottled hard apple cider.

Such cozy weekends beg for a hearty soup, one with an ability to warm you down to your tippy toes. One of my favorite choices is chicken noodle soup, but the usual bowl can sometimes taste a bit thin. Keeping the classic components of the soup in mind, I created a one-pot version, ensuring every morsel of taste and flavor infuses the resulting soup. The roasting chicken creates the initial layer of flavor, later deglazed with a healthy dose of chardonnay, and eventually the soft, caramelized vegetables drown in flavorful chicken stock.


These small changes to the classic chicken noodle soup instantly provide a deeper, richer mug of soup to hold between your hands as you watch the light flakes of snow fall lazily from the grey winter sky, seeming to dance and linger in mid-air.

Winter Chicken Noodle Soup
from Dolcetto Confections | Allison M. Veinote
makes about 3 quarts, 6 to 8 servings

This recipe stays true to the classic components of chicken noodle soup, but every ingredient is cooked in one pot, ensuring every bit of flavor is included in the final soup.  After the chicken finishes cooking, I deglaze the pan with chardonnay, providing an extra depth to the soup.  I also replace traditional chicken broth with more flavorful, chicken stock.

Ingredients
1 pound chicken breast, lightly pounded and prepared with kosher salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup chardonnay
1 small yellow onion, halved and sliced
1 small shallot, halved and sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups carrots, peeled and coined
1 ½ cups celery, sliced
2 quarts good-quality chicken stock
Bay leaf
Thyme sprig
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup egg noodles
Parsley, minced, for garnish

Preparation Instructions
In a heavy saucepan, heat a think layer of olive oil over medium heat and place chicken in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan and allow chicken to cook until cooked, about eight minutes per side. When chicken is cooked, remove from pan, and place on a large plate. Allow chicken to cool and juices to collect on plate.

Deglaze bottom of the pan with chardonnay, loosening the brown bits with the edge of a spatula. Lower heat to medium-low, coat bottom of pan with a bit of olive oil, add the yellow onion and shallot, and allow to cook, stirring often, until lightly caramelized, about 7 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for one minute longer. Add carrots and celery and cook until tender, but not mushy, about 7 minutes more.

Reduce heat to low, pour chicken stock over vegetables, and add bay leaf and thyme. Shred cooled chicken and add to soup, along with all juices that have collected on the plate. Check soup for desired levels of seasoning; add more salt and/or pepper, depending on tastes. Cover pot and allow soup to simmer over low heat.

Just before serving, cook egg noodles in boiling, salted water. Noodles should be cooked to al dente - a firm, but not hard texture - to ensure they will not later become too mushy in the soup. Add cooked, strained noodles to soup.

Ladle soup into individual bowls for serving, garnishing with a sprinkling of minced parsley, if desired. A slice of hearty, toasted bread is a perfect accompaniment.

5 comments:

  1. Your photo is great! We'd love for you to share your photo and recipe at dishfolio.com!

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  2. This dish sounds phenomenal! I love snow days and this soup would pair perfectly with one!

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  3. This sounds perfect for all these bitter winter days! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. How long do you simmer the soup before serving?

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