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.


Lamb Chops Served with Arugula Salad & Couscous

I am not a fan of prepackaged spice combinations. I usually mix or add my own spices depending on what I am cooking. While living in New Hampshire, my local butcher introduced me to Harris’ Pelham Inn seasoning. He told me to sprinkle a little on a prime rib roast I was purchasing. What a great recommendation! Harris’ Pelham Inn seasoning is a pretty simple spice combination with celery salt being the predominate flavor. For years I’ve been having it shipped to me from New Hampshire. It’s only available in a few local shops in the New England area. The seasoning is just incredible and is a wonderful compliment to beef and lamb!

For Easter a few years ago, I served lamb chops slathered in garlic and seasoned with Pelham Inn seasoning. I received nothing, but rave reviews. This past weekend I attempted to figure out the right combination to make my own Pelham Inn inspired seasoning. Let me tell you, it wasn’t hard. All of the ingredients were listed on the label. My attempt was a success, and I’m ready to share it with you!

I love lamb chops and adding a little minced garlic and Pelham Inn seasoning makes these little puppies explode with flavor! A side of arugula salad topped with Parmesan cheese and couscous… Can you say gourmet dinner! A gourmet dinner, made fast and with ease.

You Will Need –
Enough for 2 Portions – You can easily double or triple the recipe if desired

Amazing Lamb Chops –
1 lb Lamb Chops
4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
Pelham Inn Inspired Seasoning (recipe below)

Spice Rub Inspired by Pelham Inn Seasoning –
1 ½ tsp Celery Salt
½ tsp Paprika
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper

Arugula Salad –
2 Large Handfuls Arugula
3 Tbs of Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
Salt & Pepper
Parmesan Cheese, shaved

Couscous – I use Near East, Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil
Prepare according to the directions on the box

Start your water boiling for the couscous. Combine all of your dry spices in a bowl to make the Pelham Inn inspired seasoning. Mince or press your garlic and rub each side of the lamb chops with the garlic. Sprinkle each side of the lamb chops with the seasoning. Don’t be skimpy!

In a salad bowl squeeze the juice of one lemon and add the olive oil. Mix vigorously with a whisk to create an emulsion, where the oil and lemon juice come together. Add salt & pepper to taste. Add 2 large hand fulls of arugula and toss. Cook your couscous according to the directions on the package.

Grill your lamb chops to your desired doneness. They cook very quickly, only 2 – 3 minutes on each side. I actually used a panini press to cook mine. It’s kind of like a George Forman grill on steroids. You can broil the lamb chops in an oven or cook them on a grill. Plate your lamb chops on top of a bed of couscous. place your arugula salad next to the lamb chops and top with the Parmesan cheese shavings. That’s it, a great quick gourmet dinner. Go, cook, eat and enjoy!

Questions, comments, love the dish? I would love to hear your comments below.


Wintery Beef Bolognese

There is truly something special about sitting down with friends and family and sharing a meal together. It can be a wonderful time of deepening relationships that can last a lifetime. I enjoy spending time cooking for my wife’s aunt and uncle and their five children. We have made great memories over the years breaking bread together, really getting to know one another. The older kids are now off at college, so we have fewer and fewer meals all together. When we all do get to sit down together, it’s special. With college classes set to start again, we gathered for a send off meal of Beef Bolognese served over pappardelle pasta. Extra wide noodles, perfect for holding on to the thick meaty sauce.

Beef Bolognese is a delicious hearty meal with a touch of tomato, perfect for a cold day. Not a lot of prep time is required and you slow cook the sauce for several hours in a slow cooker. Slow cooking the sauce for 5 to 8 hours brings all of the great flavors together. This is a meal that can be made ahead of time, allowing you to spend more time with your friends and family.

Wintery Beef Bolognese Sauce

Makes 4 – 6 Servings

2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 lb Ground Beef lean
1 lb Ground Pork
1 Cup White Wine
1 Medium Yellow Onion
3 Stalks Celery
3 Cloves Garlic
½ tsp Garlic Powder
½ tsp Onion Powder
1 6oz Can Tomato Paste
2 Cups Chicken Stock
Salt & Pepper
1 lb Pasta (I like pappardelle)
Peccorino romano cheese

In a pot heat your olive oil over medium heat. Once your oil is hot add your onions and celery and cook until translucent, 4 – 5 minutes. Add your garlic and cook 2 – 3 minutes, don’t let it darken or it will become bitter. Add your ground beef and ground pork. With a wooden spoon, break the meat apart. Cook through until no longer pink. Season with 1 Tbs of salt, 1 tsp of pepper and the garlic and onion powder. Once the meat is cooked add the wine and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated. Add the chicken stock and tomato paste. Stir and let come to a simmer.

Remove from heat and transfer to a slow cooker. Cook on low heat for 5 – 8 hours. I like to serve this over pappardelle. If you can’t find it you could use linguini or fettuccine. Serve Bolognese over the pasta and top with about 1 Tbs of Peccorino Romano cheese. The Peccorino adds a very nice salty element that really enhances the dish.


Stuffed Cabbage… It’s Good!

Saturday mornings in our house usually include, a cup of fresh brewed coffee, maybe some music for background noise and a stack of cookbooks to peruse for meal ideas for the upcoming week. My son will usually be tugging on my PJ’s looking to sit in my lap, which always makes me smile.

After evaluating the weeks activities we usually pick a few of our GO TO meals, which we conveniently keep listed in Evernote (I highly recommend it). Evernote is perfect for storing recipes or even just pictures of recipes, and both are searchable.

I like to try at least one new recipe each week. Those new recipes may just turn into GO TO recipes in the future. I also like to keep things new and fresh. Food boredom is for the birds. I will either choose a specific recipe that excites me or search for inspiration. I might look at 2 or 3 recipes for the same dish and pull out what I believe are the best aspects of each, creating a hybrid of sorts.

This weeks “lets try something new dish” turned out to be stuffed cabbage. We have a new Slow Cooker Essentials cookbook by Williams-Sonoma and have found several great recipes in it. I was a little skeptical at first, but  the recipe called for bacon! What’s not to like? It was outstanding! Cabbage isn’t always a family favorite, but the way you slow cook this dish you almost don’t taste the cabbage. Sometimes cabbage dishes can be bitter, not this one! Get out of your comfort zone, take a risk, you won’t regret it!

Stuffed Cabbage – Adapted fromEssentials of Slow Cooking, Williams-Sonoma

Serves 4 to 6
1 Green Cabbage about 2 lbs
1 lb Lean Ground Pork
1/2 cup Cooked Rice (I used brown rice)
1 Egg
3 Green Onions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper
4 Slices Bacon
1 Yellow Onion, Chopped
1 Rib of Celery, Chopped
1 Carrot, Chopped
1 tsp Caraway Seeds
1  28oz  Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 Cup Chicken Broth
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar

Fill a pot with water large enough to boil the cabbage. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees if you are crunched for time and only have an hour and a half for cooking. 200 degrees if you are going to slow cook the stuffed cabbage for several hours. (I slow cooked mine for 4 hours). Chop your vegetables and set aside. Once the water comes to a boil, place the cabbage in the water and boil for 5 minutes. Once cooked, drain and set the cabbage aside to cool. In a Dutch oven (I use a Le Cruset) cook the bacon over medium heat (don’t let it burn). Once the bacon is crispy, remove it from the pan and place it on a plate covered with paper towels. Add your chopped vegetables, the onions, carrots and celery to the Dutch oven and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

Remove one or two of the outer leaves from the cooked cabbage and chop, about 1/4 cup. In a bowl add your pork, green onions, rice, nutmeg, 1/2 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp  Pepper, the 1/4 cup of  chopped cabbage and a beaten egg. Mix all of the ingredients together with your clean hands. As the Barefoot Contessa would say “the two best tools in the kitchen.”

Once the vegetables are soft, add to the Dutch oven the caraway seeds, crushed tomatoes, red wine vinegar and the bacon crumbled. Simmer over low heat.

The cabbage should be cool enough to begin peeling the  leaves from the cabbage. Carefully peel off about 12 leaves. depending on how much of the pork mixture you put in each cabbage leaf, you may only yield 8 total. Take a small handful of the pork mixture and gently roll it into a large meatball. Once pealed the cabbage leaf will take the natural form of a bowl, place the pork meatball into the thicker end of the cabbage. Fold in the sides and roll forward. Place the stuffed cabbage into the Dutch oven with the tomato sauce seam down. Repeat until all of the pork is used. Spoon some of the sauce over all of the stuffed cabbage. Cover and place in the oven.

As mentioned above – I cooked mine for about 4 hours at 200 degress, but if you are in more of a hurry you can cook it at 325 for about an hour and a half. If you decide to slow cook the stuffed cabbage for 4 hours, cover the Dutch oven with a sheet of tin foil before placing the lid on it. This will ensure that the liquid does not evaporate. Once the stuffed cabbage has cooked, plate and enjoy!