Homemade Chicken Soup with Noodles Made from Scratch

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By Erik & Kate Mignault  (Kate’s Family Recipe)
 
What is it about a cup of hot chicken noodle soup that can warm your bones on a cold winter’s night?  And yes, it gets cold enough here in Texas for hot soup. In New England, my mother would use our 35° garage to store this soup over night as the pot was usually too large for our refrigerator and she was too lazy to put it away in a tupperware. We would come home from church and put it directly back on the stove to warm, and eat as a family with a loaf of crusty bread. 
 
Family recipes are a staple on this blog, what is my family’s recipe today, might be your family’s tomorrow. This soup is from my great grandmother and has a rich broth as well as a rich history. 
 
These flavors could never come from a can, most soups from a can should just stay there!
 
What you will need -
 

Chicken Soup 

  • 2 whole organic young chickens – 2 or 3 pounds each
  • 1 cup flat parsley, rough chopped
  • 1 bag of carrots, about 7 or 8 peeled and chopped
  • 4 or 5 celery stocks washed and chopped
  • 20 cups of water (filtered or bottled)
  • 1 whole onion peeled
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper

Noodles from Scratch

  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 3/4 Flour
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup of Milk

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Unwrap and rinse the chickens. Make sure to take out any of the innards from the chickens. Most come with neck and livers inside, discard them. In a very large stock pot, (12 plus quarts) add the chickens, crushed garlic and the peeled yellow onion. Bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

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Meanwhile use this time to peel and chop all of your veggies, setting them aside in a bowl.

After simmering for an 1 1/2 to 2 hours, remove and discard the onion. Remove the chickens and set aside to cool. Add your bowl of chopped veg and bring the stock back to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the veggies and stock for about 30 minutes until the veggies are soft.IMG_9403

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Once the chickens have cooled, carefully separate the chicken from the bones making sure to discard any funky pieces. Tear apart the chicken into small pieces with your hands. This will ensure that you have removed all of the bones and inedible pieces of chicken. Add the chicken back into the soup with the vegetables. Now for the noodles.

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Noodles From Scratch -

Making the noodles (Country Noodles also sometimes called Spaetzle) from scratch is the most time consuming piece of the recipe. Up until this point we’ve chopped a few veggies and waited for time to pass. In a separate pot bring 4 quarts of water to a boil, salt the water with about 1 Tbsp kosher salt. In a bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt and flour. Mix until smooth. IMG_9451

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On a clean flat cutting board pour 1/3 of the noodle batter onto the cutting board. Use a butter knife to evenly spread the batter across half of the cutting board up to one edge. While holding the cutting board over the pot of boiling water, use the butter knife to shuck (or scrape) small, even amounts of the batter into the water. Have fun with the size of your noodles, tailoring them to the size you like. Cook the noodles in batches, making sure the water continues to boil.

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As the noodles rise to the top they are done cooking and can be transferred to the chicken soup with a slotted spoon or a spider. The noodles cook fast, in about 30 to 60 seconds depending on how large they are. Repeat and continue this process until no batter remains and all of the noodles have made their way into the stock pot full of soup.

IMG_9477Enjoy on a cool winters night with a loaf of crusty bread, such as a rye bread topped with butter.


An Education in Drinking Good Wine – 3 Easy Tips for Learning What You Like

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In the last year I have begun my education in good wine. It started with my wife’s uncle sharing a superb bottle with us on occasion. Time after time he would bring out outstanding bottles of wine. I have to say, I was hooked. I never realized how good wine could be! Probably because I had never tasted anything of quality up until this point. In the past I’ve never been interested in spending too much money on a bottle of wine. That is not to say you have to spend lots of money to find quality wine. When starting out, I think what is hardest, is that there are so many choices. How in the world are you supposed to know what you like? It is so easy to spend a lot of money on a bottle of wine and be dissapointed.

Here are the three keys that I have found in my pursuit to finding and buying good wine.

# 1 - Start out trying different styles of wine. Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah… The list goes on and on, but the point here is that you need to find what you like. A lot of wine’s can be good quality, but just not your style. Once you find a style of wine that you like you can begin to experiment and try different price points. Have fun, maybe invite some friends over for a wine tasting? Have everyone bring a different style. Pinot Noir is a great wine to start with. It’s easy to drink and low in tannins (see # 2 to learn more about tannins). As you try wines with tannins you’ll be able to more easily recognize them. Try this Pinot Noir, it’s one of my favorites.

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Ampelos Pinot Noir 2008 Lambda. Ampelos makes several different Pinot Noirs. Make sure to get the Lambda. It’s silky smooth, very tasty, a pleasure to drink. Best of all it’s reasonably priced at about $30 a bottle.

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# 2 – Read this book… Kevin Zraly’s Complete Wine Course. The New York Times says it’s “One of the best start-from-scratch wine books ever written.” The book will give you a great overview of how wine is made, where its made (the different regions of the world). You’ll also gain knowledge of the different styles of wine and what makes them different. Get the book here on Amazon.

# 3 - Find someone that knows what they are talking about. Pick their brain, get recommendations, have them help you when making a purchase. If they are passionate about wine, they will enjoy helping you learn what you like.


Eatsie Boys Evolution – Food Truck to Restaurant

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I have been following the Eatsie Boys since early 2011. Known for their pork snuggies, this one time food truck has made the transition to Full-blown restaurant. Opening the brick and mortar restaurant just last Monday, after a soft open in December. The Eatsie Boys have done what so many food trucks dream of when starting out.

New Sign, So New it Still Has Tape on it

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I love the location in the Montrose area, here in Houston. Located down the street from the University of Saint Thomas and the museum district. I can see a lot of students making their way over after classes. They serve breakfast too, which should also be a great attraction to students. I stopped by after a visit to the children’s museum, just a few miles away.

The interior is very inviting, bright and modern. The kitchen, which is visible from the dining area almost looks like the interior of a food truck. For only being open less than a week the place was packed on Saturday for lunch. At one point there was a line out the door. It shows that the Eatsie Boys have established a name for themselves in the area. While busy, our order was taken promptly and our food delivered quickly to our table. The kitchen seemed experienced, efficiently calling out, cooking and serving orders.

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Kate (My wife) ordered Frank-the-Pretzel, chicken poblano sausage, sautéed onions, mustard, on a pretzel bun…. Interesting, right? The mustard had whole mustard seeds in it giving the dish a great texture. The bun made in the sandwich. Crusty and chewy on the outside, just like a pretzel and soft on the inside like a traditional hotdog bun. Frank’s my new friend, our favorite of the bunch… Lunch.

Frank-the-Pretzel

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I ordered the Maestro sandwich and pork snuggies, I had to try them since hearing so much about them. (Back in 2011 at the food truck festival they were unavailable due to the Eatsieboys generator not working).

When it comes to bread, I am very picky. Growing up in the Boston area I always had access to great bread. The opposite is true here in the south, it’s hard to find good bread. It’s always dry, tasteless and has no chewiness. Bread is the foundation of any good sandwich, so it has to be great. The bread used for both Frank the pretzel and the Maestro were delicious. Definitely some of the best bread I’ve had a sandwich on in all my years in Houston. Good job Eatsie Boys for choosing a premier bakery to provide such an essential ingredient.

The Maestro was made with perfectly cooked roast beef, that was just a little bit rare and very tender. Sitting on a slice of cheddar cheese and topped with horseradish aioli and caramelized onions. The horseradish aoli was nice and spicy. The sandwich was accompanied by a side salad, some mixed greens and a little dressing. The salad was nothing spectacular. Seemed more like an afterthought. The sandwich was very tasty, but I thought it was a little overpriced at $12.

Maestro

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The pork snuggies were good and creative. Pork belly, topped with a cucumber (they call it a quick pickle), green onions, hoisin sauce on a steamed bao bun (typicaly found in Chinese cuisine). I would have liked the pork to be a little more crispy and less chewy, but good overall. A salty snack with the cucumber and green onion adding freshness.

Pork Snuggies

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Eatsie boys Cafe is a nice spot to grab a bite to eat for lunch. The food is fun, creative and very fresh. Way better than what you would expect to find at a chain restaurant. It’s exciting to see a group of young guys start a food truck locally here in Houston and turn it into a brick-and-mortar restaurant. I wish these guys the best of luck and look forward to returning to Eatsie Boys to try their breakfast. In case you are wondering, the food truck still lives on. So if food trucks are more your thing, you can take your pick.

Eatsieboys.com

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Crustless Bacon & Cheese Quiche

With a change in jobs and a new addition to our family, the last few months have been busy to say the least. I have to confess that my passion for cooking these last few months has been stifled and ordering take out has become more frequent. As we ring in the new year I don’t expect to become any less busy, but I do hope to get back to my passion of cooking and sharing more with you.

When I started Erik Eats a year ago, I told myself that if my mom and a few other family members would read my food blog, it would be a success. Well, I have been more than surprised in this last year by the number of you that have visited my blog, over 1,000 people per month! One of my first posts included a video on how to make restaurant quality pizza at home. To my sheer amazement that one video on YouTube has been viewed over 20,000 times, incredible!

Today I bring you a dish that is easy to make and just perfect for sharing on New Years day for breakfast. Bacon & Cheese Crustless Quiche. What’s even better is that you can make the quiche in advance, and just heat it up in the oven in minutes. While great for breakfast you could eat the quiche at any meal, hot or even cold. Prep is simple and can be done in 10 minute or less. You can serve them hot out of the oven, reheated the next day or freeze them to have on hand.

What you need -

The instructions are for one quiche, but you will have enough eggs & bacon to make 3. (A dozen eggs and precooked bacon usually comes with 12 strips) purchase some additional cheese and pie tins and you could make all three. You could always freeze the remaining 2 in ziplock freezer bags or feed a big group. One quiche will serve 3 – 4 people.

8″ Store bought aluminum pie tin
Precooked bacon – 4 slices diced
4 large Eggs
1 cup of whole Milk
1 8oz Package Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Black Pepper
Nutmeg
Cooking Spray
Sliced Tomatoes (Optional)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Spay your pie tin with cooking spray.

In a food processor add the 4 eggs. (I crack mine into a bowl first incase any shell decides to jump in). Add a cup of milk and a pinch of black pepper. Blend together for about 20 seconds. This will make the quiche light and airy. Next add the whole package of cheese, blend again for about 5 seconds. Then add the chopped bacon and blend very briefly. You just want to mix it in, if you over blend, the bacon will become chopped to finely. Next pour the entire mixture into your pie tin. If adding sliced tomato lay them over the top. Lightly sprinkle with nutmeg and pop it into the oven for 35 – 40 minutes, until the top becomes golden brown and the center is no longer runny. Once they are done let them rest for 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

*I don’t add any salt, the bacon and cheese makes them plenty salty. If made ahead (or defrosted from the freezer) to reheat place them in the oven for 8 minutes at 375 degrees fahrenheit. From my family to yours, Happy New Year!


“The Family Recipe” Meaty Pasta Sauce

When I met my wife’s family over twelve years ago and tried their sauce recipe, I knew that I was marrying into the right family. It’s the best tomato based pasta sauce that I have ever eaten. It’s thick, rich and meaty. The ingredients are basic, its seasoned to perfection and cooked slowly. I fell in love with this dish years ago, its contributed to my joy of cooking and my appetite for pasta dishes.

This is one of those dishes that you start on a Saturday morning and the sweet aroma permeates the house all day long while it simmers on the stove. You can make large batches and freeze it or turn it into other meals like… Well I’m not going to tell you since that would be giving away next weeks post. To me and my family this sauce is comfort food, it brings back great memories of family meals of the past. I hope you will find that this recipe transforms your family as it has mine.

“The Family Recipe” 
What you will need

3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion Chopped
6 Cloves of Garlic Chopped
1.25 Lbs Ground Beef (90/10)
1 6oz Can of Tomato Paste
1 28oz Can of Tomato Sauce
1 28oz Can of Whole Tomatoes
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 1/2 Tbs Oregano
3 or 4 Leaves Fresh Basil Julienned (Sliced in strips)
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 Lb Dried Pasta (I like Spaghetti or Rotini)

In a thick bottomed pot add your olive oil and heat over medium. Once the oil is hot add your chopped onion and cook for 3 minutes. Move the onions to one side of the pot and add your garlic. Let the garlic cook for 1 – 2 minutes, but don’t let it brown (or it will become biter). Mix the onions and garlic togethers. Add a few pinches of salt and pepper, add the oregano and mix together. Move your onions to one side and add the ground beef to the pot. Season the ground beef with salt and pepper. Break the ground beef apart with a wooden spoon and cook until browned. It is okay to mix the onions and garlic in with the ground beef. Once the ground beef is browned, add the tomatoes, sauce and paste. Mix and let the sauce simmer for 2o minutes over low heat. With a potato masher crush the whole tomatoes. Mash them until the sauce becomes smooth. Add the fresh basil. Simmer over low heat for 3 to 4 hours, mixing with a wooden spoon every 30 minutes to make sure the sauce doesn’t burn at the bottom of the pan. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta and enjoy what my family has enjoyed for half a century.


Perfect Summer Pasta

I could eat pasta anytime, any day. I’m a pasta junkie. The good news for me and other pasta junkies is that pasta, and their accompanying sauces are really versatile. There is a combination for every season. A rich meaty bolognese (see here) is great on a cold winters night. With the summer upon us, I’ve got the perfect pasta recipe to share with you. I’ve been making this dish for years, to the joy of family and friends. Made with ripe cherry tomatoes, sweet basil, garlic and olive oil, this dish bursts with flavor. The tomatoes and garlic marinate in the olive oil, making a deliciously light summer sauce.

Inspired by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa -

Perfect Summer Pasta
1lbs Angle Hair Pasta
2 Pints Cherry Tomatoes
5 – 6 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Red Chili Flakes
15 – 20 Basil Leaves, Julienned
1/4 Cup of Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Kosher Salt

Rinse, then slice all of the cherry tomatoes in half. I used a variety of both red and yellow cherry tomatoes. In a bowl top the sliced tomatoes with 1 tsp of kosher salt. This is really important, because the salt pulls the water and flavor out of the tomatoes. This helps to make the sauce extra flavorful.

Add to the bowl, the sweet basil, red chili flakes, and garlic. Pour the olive oil into the bowl and mix all of the ingredients together. Cover the bowl and let the mixture sit for 2 – 4 hours. This allows time for all of the flavors to come together.

The rest is easy. Boil your water and cook the pasta according to directions on the package. Angel Hair pasta usually cooks really fast, in just 3 – 4 minutes. Once the pasta is cooked and strained pour the tomato and olive oil sauce over the top along with the parmesan cheese, toss together. Plate, and top with a little extra parmesan cheese. If you friends and family are like mine, they will be clamoring for seconds, so make plenty.


Now that’s a “Good Dog!” Food Truck

What do you get when you combine a Dachshund, a trained chef, a 1991 diesel bus and boyfriend that grew up in the restaurant industry? You get a food truck cranking out gourmet hot dogs that will make your taste buds dance. Good Dog Food Truck established in early 2011 has all of the ingredients to grow a following of fans and keep them coming back for more.

Molly and Danny owners of Good Dog have been in the food industry for several years and have a passion for serving great quality food. Molly, a trained chef has worked in upscale restaurants here in Houston for the last five years. Restaurants including Reef, you might remember seeing the Executive Chef Bryan, Caswell on the Next Iron Chef.

The concept for the food truck was born out of the idea of making all of their condiments from scratch, including homemade ketchup’s, relish and mustard. Molly jokes that the only thing that they don’t make from scratch is the cheese, which they just might make in the future. The hot dogs and buns are sourced locally here in Texas. To find the perfect hot dog Molly and Danny traveled the state of Texas trying many different dogs. The dog that they chose is quite a “Good Dog!” You can see spices in the hot dog and the taste is much better than a hot dog purchased from your local grocery store. Combine those great hot dogs with condiments made from scratch and fresh combinations like homemade dill pickles, cream cheese and pickled onions… Great taste and a party in your mouth.

They are really going all out to produce great gourmet food served from their truck. Instead of using Phase (artificial butter) to grill their hot dog buns they are using real butter and taking the time to clarify the butter (so that it doesn’t burn on the hot grill). In my experience its the simple basics that if are done right, takes food from good to great. What I saw behind the scenes, was that Good Dog is doing the little things right that make a big difference in terms of taste.

You can find Good Dog Food Truck by following them on Facebook or Twitter, they post a weekly schedule and update their locations daily. You can also visit their website at Gooddogfoodtruck.com ~ Make sure to watch the behind the scenes video above.


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