Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Chicken noodle soup

1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 pounds chicken parts (ideally bone-in, skin-on breasts)
8 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons table salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Poultry seasoning
Dried thyme
Dried basil 
Dried oregano
1 large carrot, diced (1/3-inch)
1 large celery stalk, diced (1/3-inch)
4 ounces dried egg noodles
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, for serving

Prepare broth: In a large (5-quart) heavy pot over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion and saute it for a couple of minutes until beginning to take on color at edges. Add the chicken pieces  making little wells in the onions so that the parts can touch the bottom of the pan directly. Be sure not to let the onions burn. Cook chicken parts until lightly browned.
Add water, bay leaf, table salt and some freshly ground black pepper and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and skim any  scum that appears at the surface of the pot. Simmer pot gently, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
Transfer chicken parts to a plate to cool a bit before handling. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl (ideally, with a spout) and pour soup through it.
If your pot looks grimy and you’re fanatical about having a clear soup, you can give it a quick wash before returning the broth to the pot. You can remove a bit of fat at this point, if it looks necessary. Bring the broth back to a simmer. Add a dash of poultry seasoning, dried thyme, oregano, and basil. 
To finish and serve: Add diced vegetables and simmer them until they’re firm-tender, about 5 minutes. Add dried noodles and cook them according to package directions, usually 6 to 9 minutes. While these simmer, remove the skin and chop the flesh from the chicken. 
Once noodles have cooked, add chicken pieces just until they have rewarmed through (30 seconds) and ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with dill. 
Do ahead: If planning ahead, the point where you strain your chicken broth is a great place to pause. Refrigerate the chicken broth until the next day. Before heating it and finishing the recipe, you can easily remove any solidified fat from the surface for a virtually fat-free soup. Then, you can cook the vegetables and noodles to order, adding the chicken only so that it can rewarm (and not overcook!). If making the broth more than a day in advance, you might as well freeze it. I recommend freezer bags with as much air as possible pressed out. Freezing the bags flat will make it easier to stack and store with other frozen soups, and the bag will only require a short soak in warm water to defrost.

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