BRIAN IN THE KITCHEN  brought to you by Stittsworth Meats

January 23 2012

Homemade Chicken Soup

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    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 medium onion, chopped
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
    2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
    4 fresh thyme sprigs
    1 bay leaf
    2 quarts chicken stock, recipe follows
    8 ounces dried wide egg noodles
    1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped


Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
Chicken Stock:

    1 whole free-range chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded
    2 carrots, cut in large chunks
    3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
    2 large white onions, quartered
    1 head of garlic, halved
    1 turnip, halved
    1/4 bunch fresh thyme
    2 bay leaves
    1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.

Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.

Yield: 2 quarts