Thursday, April 17, 2014

using the whole chicken // part 2 (chicken noodle soup)

use the whole chicken

 If you missed part 1 where I share my roasted chicken recipe, you can check it out here.

Once I've roasted a chicken and we've eaten dinner off of it once, I use the rest of the meat for another dinner. The goal is to use every piece of meat that you can. We'll usually also have a little bit to use in chicken quesadillas one day for lunch that week too.

The options for using roasted chicken for dinners is endless. Some of the many meals I use the meat for include enchiladas, kale and chicken soup, tostadas, chicken pho, taquitos, salads, chicken chili, jambalaya and chicken tortilla soup. But today I wanted to share a hearty classic and a favorite on our dinner table: chicken noodle soup.

What you'll need:

Olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery including the leaves (which are the most flavorful part!), diced
2 good sized carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic (or more!), minced
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
dried herb mix that you used on your roasted chicken
4 or more cups chicken broth or stock (homemade is preferred- I always keep some on hand in the freezer)
Chicken meat that you've shredded from your roasted chicken earlier in the week- the amount is up to your discretion
16 oz small shell pasta

You'll first want to bone your chicken. Make sure you get as much of the meat off as you possibly can. Remember, we're trying to let as little go to waste as possible! I find that it's easier to bone the chicken when it's warm or at least room temperature. Ideally, I would do it right after dinner on the first night, put the meat in a container and the remainder of the chicken in a ziplock bag to make stock later. But I never have that much motivation or energy. In general, I pull the chicken out of the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter while I prep this meal. Then while the soup is heating up, I bone it and throw the chicken straight in.

Cut up all of your veggies. Heat a big pot or dutch oven (side note: always use a dutch oven when making soups and chilis. They are the best kitchen item you can possibly invest in!) on medium-high heat. Once it's hot, add about 1-2 Tbsp olive oil. Add your onion, celery and carrots. Stir and allow to cook until carrots begin to caramelize and onion is translucent. The goal is to get the veggies good and soft now so that you don't have crunchy celery in your soup (yuck!)

Add garlic and stir. Let cook for 30 seconds-1 minute. Don't let the garlic burn.

Add your salt and pepper to taste. Okay, I've said it before, I'm not a measurer, so I do apologize. But if you aren't confident in your ability to just wing it with seasoning, I'd say you're safe with 2 tsp salt and 1/2-1 tsp of pepper (my husband LOVES pepper in his chicken noodle soup so I use at least 1 tsp. It's all up to your taste!). Sprinkle in 2 tsp of your dried herb mix. Honestly, you could probably even do a whole Tbsp of it. Again, use your discretion.

Stir in seasonings and herbs. Add chicken stock. Start with 4 cups. If you feel like you want more soup, then by all means, add more! Just keep in mind that you'll want to have enough chicken to go with the amount of broth in your soup.

Stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer at least 30 minutes. The longer the better. I recommend an hour. But 30 will do you just fine.

In the mean time, if you haven't already, bone the chicken and put the meat in a container to the side. Also, cook the shell pasta in a separate pot, following the directions on the package. You'll want your noodles to be al dente.

When you have about 5-10 minutes left on the soup, toss in the chicken and give it a stir. All you need to do here is heat the chicken through since it's already been cooked.

Once the soup and the noodles are done, you're ready to serve!

To serve: scoop a generous amount of noodles into a bowl. Then ladle the soup on top of it until your bowl is full. (side note: I never add my noodles directly into the soup pot, or else they get soggy. This goes especially if you plan to eat the soup for lunch the next day! Then they won't just be soggy, they'll fall apart. Unless you like them that way. Store them in separate containers in the fridge for leftovers.)

And that's it! Add salt and pepper if needed and serve with some warm bread, crunchy garlic toast or just plain 'ole tortilla chips.

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Another side note: When you've pulled all the meat off of your chicken, be sure to store it in an air tight container or plastic baggie in the fridge to make stock later in the week.

Be sure to check back for part 3, that will include my super, super simple (so simple that Martha Stewart probably wouldn't approve) chicken stock recipe! But I assure, you it's very flavorful and a zillion times better than anything you'll get out of a can or a carton. And, you know exactly what's in it!

And again, if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments. I'd love to answer them!

For more dinner and recipe ideas, you can always check out my pinterest boards: yumm-o and 20 meals ideas



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