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.


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.


Really Quick Naan Pizza

Naan Pizza is perfect as an easy mid week dinner or a quick throw it together lunch. Kate and I on occasion order a pizza and a salad to be delivered. This Naan Pizza can be thrown together faster than you can order for delivery.

It’s easy and starts with grilling the Naan on a panini press (or in a frying pan if you don’t have a panini press). Once your Naan is hot and grilled your ready to top your Naan Pizza and broil it for just a few quick minutes to melt the cheese and warm your toppings. It’s that easy!

Heat the Naan on a Panini Press

Top with your favorite toppings

Pepperoni & Provolone Cheese – Sprinkle with Oregano

Broil in the oven until the cheese is melted and begins to turn golden brown

Presto, you’re ready to eat – Could you order delivery that fast?

For sauce you can follow the recipe below or use your favorite jared sauce (you can cheat I won’t tell. Plus it’s faster).

Pizza Sauce -

1 15 oz can of Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
1/2 Can of Hunt’s Tomato Paste (The small 6 oz can)
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Oregano

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. If you have time let the sauce sit for at least half an hour to let the flavors combine.

For cheese – I like to use sliced provolone (Sargento is a good choice).

Don’t forget, Pizza and a salad is a solid combination.


Tomato & Spinach Tortellini Soup

A few weeks ago my aunt made this delicious tomato and spinach tortellini soup for me. She had it for the first time while visiting a friend in Europe. (We can think of the recipe as exotic, since it comes from overseas). One bite, and I knew I would be sharing it with you. It’s a perfect spring time soup, and packs tremendous flavor in each spoonful. It’s also a soup that can be paired with a salad or piece of bread and enjoyed for dinner. It’s very easy to make and can be thrown together in no time. When I’m putting my meal plans together each week, I’m always careful to include a few meals that are really fast and easy to make. We are all busy and don’t always have the time or energy to make a complicated meal. With this soup, the hardest thing you will have to do is chop an onion. If you can operate a can opener and open a bag of spinach you will have no problems putting together this great meal. This soup has everything, a little bacon, fresh spinach and cheesy tortellini. At dinner time I am usually pretty hungry and a bowl full of soup won’t cut it for me. This soup is different, with the bacon and tortellini it’s both satisfying and filling, but light enough that it won’t weigh you down for the rest of the night. Make one night this week a soup and salad night.

Tomato & Spinach Tortellini Soup
Recipe Inspired by a family Friend

What you will need -

2 Tbs Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic chopped
1 Large Yellow Onion chopped
4 oz Bacon or Pancetta diced
9 Cups Chicken Stock
8 oz Fresh Spinach
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
9 oz Cheese Tortellini (I used a spinach and plain mix which is usually easy to find)
28 oz can of Crushed Tomatoes
Salt & Pepper

In a large thick bottomed pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta or bacon and let cook for 3 minutes, then add the chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add a few pinches of salt to season the onions. Once the onion becomes soft add the chopped garlic and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, don’t let the garlic brown or it will become bitter. At this point your bacon should be browned and the onion and garlic cooked through, but not browned.

Add the chicken stock and crushed tomato, and let come to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook for 7 minutes. Add the spinach and parmesan cheese to the pot.

The cheese will melt and the spinach will wilt immediately. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with a slice of bread or a fresh salad.


Bread ~ You’ve Got the Time

For the last few months I have been polishing my artisan baking skills. I’ve never liked to bake, it’s too exact. You actually have to measure ingredients, but making bread is really enjoyable and dare I say it, tasty. I’ve found that a homemade loaf of bread can turn a good meal into an extraordinary meal. Aside from the great taste, your friends and family will be impressed by your effort. There is just something about freshly baked bread, it compliments so many meals perfectly.

Your thinking, are you crazy!? I’m so busy, the last thing I have time for is to make bread. You would be surprised, while making bread is a process, it’s really pretty easy to make. The amount of prep time is minimal. A majority of the time you actually don’t have to do anything, but wait. You could go read a book or watch a movie, maybe go take a nap while the dough rises or bakes in the oven. (You may want to set an alarm if napping while your bread is baking. Burnt bread is not so good). For the most part all you have to do to make bread is portion out the ingredients, mix them together (preferably with a Kitchen Aid) and shape the dough. Besides for homemade bread being wonderfully delicious, its kind of fun to make too.

A few meal suggestions to serve your freshly baked bread with ~

Beef Bolognese
San Marzano Marinara
Meatballs & Sauce

Recipe inspired by Michael Rulhman
What you will need -

4 Cups Bread Flour
12 oz Warm Water (about 100 degrees, but I never take the temp)
2 tsp Active Yeast
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Honey
2 Tbs Kosher Salt
Sea Salt for topping the bread
Olive Oil for topping the bread

I use a Kitchen Aid with a bread hook to mix and knead my bread. If you don’t have one you will need to knead the dough by hand, and yes it will require a little more work. Pour your warm water into a bowl. Add the honey and olive oil to the water and mix. Add the yeast and mix until it is dissolved into the water. Let sit for five minutes. In the Kitchen Aid mixing bowl add your flour and salt. Add the water, yeast, olive oil combination to the mixing bowl with the flour. Lock your Kitchen Aid and on low speed with the dough hook combine all of the ingredients. You are going to knead the dough in the Kithchen Aid for 10 -12 minutes. I will turn the Kitchen Aid off about 3 times and pull the dough off of the dough hood and then turn the machine back on to make sure the at the dough is well kneaded.

After 10 – 12 minutes sprinkle a light amount of flour on your countertop and place the dough on top of the flour. Coat your hand lightly with flour so that the dough does not stick. Fold the dough into itself forming a nice dough ball.

In a bowl, rub a little olive oil so that the dough doesn’t stick. Place the dough ball into the bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Make sure the towel doesn’t touch the dough. Let the dough sit in a warm area of your kitchen for about 1 – 2 hours (depending how much time you have). The longer you let it sit the more time the yeast will have to work, producing extra flavor. At a minimum you want the dough to rise so that it doubles in size. This usually takes about one hour. (Plenty of time for napping).

You can add fresh chopped herbs to your dough, like rosemary (see the green rosemary below)

When the dough has fully risen you then need to punch it down. Which just means that you knead it again to push out any of the air created while rising. I don’t use the Kitchen Aid at this point. You can simply knead the dough by hand, taking the dough from the outside of dough ball and pushing it into the middle. Once done, let the dough ball rest on your kitchen counter for 15 minutes. Then you are ready to shape the bread and bake it.

So many different shapes and sizes of bread. Decisions… Decisions. I have tried two different shapes. The traditional loaf and the ciabatta. Each is very different. I like to top either of these with a high quality garlic infused olive oil and some sea salt. Before placing the dough in the oven to cook I rub the olive oil all over the top of the bread and then sprinkle evenly with sea salt.

For the traditional loaf - place your hands on each side of the dough ball and rock it back and forth. The idea is to roll it back and forth so that it stretches and forms into a loaf about 8” to 10” long. I like to use a dutch oven to cook the loaf in. If you don’t have one you can cook it on an insulated cookie sheet. With the insulated cookie sheet you won’t burn the bottom. Coat the bottom of the dutch oven (or cookie sheet) with a little olive oil. I like to use a garlic infused olive oil on inside the bottom of the pan and to top the bread, but regular olive oil will do just fine. Place the loaf of dough in the dutch oven. With a sharp knife cut a shallow line down the center of the loaf. This will help the bread stretch as it cooks. Place the lid of the dutch oven on (one secret to great bread). If you are not using a dutch oven, place one cup of water in an oven safe pan and place it in the oven with the dough. This will help to steam the bread making for a nice crispy, yet chewy outer crust. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place your dough into the oven. After 10 minutes reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and remove the lid from the dutch oven. Continue cooking for 35 to 45 minutes. You want the outside of the bread to be golden brown. If you tap on it with your fist you want it to sound hollow. This means your bread is done.

For the ciabatta loaf – (Ciabatta means slipper in Italian) you are going to carefully stretch the dough ball into a long oval shape… similar to a slipper. I start by holing one end of the dough ball with two hands and letting gravity pull the dough slowly towards the ground. I will then grab the opposite end of the dough with both hands and again let the dough stretch towards the ground. Once the dough has stretched as far as it will with gravity place the dough back on the countertop and pull it gently apart with you hands to finish stretching it out. You want the dough to be about 1 foot long and about an inch thick. Lightly coat an insulated cookie sheet with olive oil. Place the dough onto cookie sheet. (I’ve tried the ciabatta in a large dutch oven, but I think it comes out better on the cookie sheet).

Straighten your fingers and press them into the dough all over creating little dimples across the entire loaf. This helps create that ciabatta goodness we a like. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place 1 cup of water in a oven safe baking dish or pan. Place both the ciabatta loaf and the pan with water into the oven. After 10 minutes reduce the oven temperature and cook for about 30 minutes, until the ciabatta loaf is golden brown. Same as with the traditional loaf if you tap on it with a fist you want it to sound hollow. Pull out some nice butter, cut the bread and serve with dinner.

Chefs Note – In my experience freshly baked bread is not very good the next day. I recommend that you freeze any left over bread immediately after dinner in freezer safe bags. When you want to use the bread, simply pull it out of the freezer about 2 hours before dinner.


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