Saturday, April 9, 2011

the best chicken noodle soup EVER...no really

Let me start this post out with a disclaimer. While there are some people who can take amazing pictures of food and the preparation of food, I am not one of those people. Please, try not to cover your head and run away screaming in terror as you're reading this post. Because the end product? Will make subjecting yourself to the scary photos all worth it. So toughen up and let's get through this together.

I first tasted this soup at the home of some friends of ours. The man of the house happens to be a fabulous cook. He just whipped this up with no recipe. Also not a strength of mine. Aaron and I had already eaten when we walked in the door, but this soup looked and smelled so amazing that we had to try some. I took one bite and died and went to heaven. When I came to, I picked myself up off the floor and demanded the recipe. Which Sir Master Chef so graciously gave me. Since then, I have made this heavenly concoction numerous times. It has become my go-to recipe for new moms, sick friends, and company. It's lovely because it makes so much soup that there is always plenty left for our family to eat for a few meals.
Meet the cast of characters.

We'll start out by preparing our veggies and garlic. Give those carrots and celery a good washing. I use 1 lb of carrots and 4-5 stalks of celery.
Peel the carrots and chop them up. I like to chop mine pretty small, but you could make them a bit bigger if you prefer them that way. Not too big though or they won't sautee properly.
When your 3 year old comes over and requests some applesauce, be sure to give in to his request. It will keep him occupied for at least 3 precious minutes.
Now let me introduce you to two very important players. Olive Oil and Butter. I know they look kind of scary. And full of fat. But they are a very key element in this show.

Cut the stick of butter in half. Yes, we are going to use half of a stick of butter. Don't be afraid. Remember this makes a lot of soup. So in the grand scheme of things, each serving is not going to have much butter in it.
Put the butter in a large frying pan along with some olive oil (about 1/4 of a cup, just eyeball it) and get them all warmed up over medium low heat.
While the butter and olive oil are doing their thing, finish chopping the rest of the veggies. Again, you can chop them however big or small you'd like. I slice the celery down the middle lengthwise and then slice each half down the middle again before chopping it into small pieces.
Next dice the onion. Use this time to cry about the fact that after carrying 5 babies past their due dates, your stomach will likely never fit inside your pants again without the use of Spanx. When your husband asks you why you're crying, blame it on the onions.
When you're done chopping the veggies you'll have a pretty rainbow of colors that will make you forget all about your muffin-top.
Your burner should already be on and your butter should be melted at this point.
Dump in the veggies and stir them around a bit. This is where the real magic happens. This will also be the longest part of the cooking process. You can speed it up a bit if you need to, but generally speaking I like to use a low enough heat that these guys take about 1 to 1 1/2 hours to cook up. That really allows all of their inner-goodness the time required to come out.
Meanwhile, mince a few cloves of garlic. I try to do this right away or I tend to forget about it altogether.
When the veggies are all caramelized and yummy, go ahead and add in the minced garlic.
Give it a good stir and let it cook for another minute or two. In person, it will look much better than this. I promise. Take a spoon and try a bite. But just one. We need the rest for the soup.
Dump the veggies into your stock pot and brace yourself to pick up the pieces of raw chicken. I know it looks, feels, and smells awful enough to make you want to give up and go hide in your bed with the covers pulled over your head. But you can do it. Put those babies in the pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and fry them up over medium heat. And then scrub your hands and every surface within 50 feet of your home for the next hour or two.
After you've disinfected the neighborhood, heat the chicken until it's just cooked through. It should be golden brown on both sides. Try to resist over-cooking it. It makes the chicken very dry and hard to chew. I'm speaking from experience here people. Do yourself a favor and don't over-cook your chicken.
At this point, glance at the clock are realize that your son needs to be picked up from his birthday party in 7 minutes and it will take 8 minutes to get there. Accept the fact that you'll be a few minutes late and cut up the chicken. Toss it into the pot with the veggies.
Quickly open up all three cans of chicken broth.

Pour the broth into the pot. If your husband is home, go ahead and turn the heat on medium-high. If not, run out the door, pick up your son 5 minutes late, and turn the burner on when you get home. Bring the broth to a boil.
Next comes the cream. You can skimp a bit on the cream if you want to. I believe in the original recipe, Sir Master Chef called for a half pint of cream. I like to add a full pint. It makes the soup so creamy and good.

Add in a palmful of thyme.
The last step is to add the noodles. If you've ever tried to snap a picture of noodles being dumped into a pot, you'll know you only get one chance. I failed. Let the noodles hang out in the boiling soup for about 7 minutes.
Ladle some soup into a bowl, add a hunk of bread and enjoy the best chicken noodle soup EVER.



The Best Chicken Noodle Soup EVER

Ingredients:
1 lb carrots
4-5 stalks celery
1 onion
4-5 cloves garlic
4 T butter
1/4 cup plus 2T olive oil
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 pint heavy whipping cream
3 49oz cans chicken broth
1-2 T thyme
1 16 0z bag of egg noodles

Wash, peel, and dice carrots, celery, and onion. In frying pan, heat up butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized, about 1 1/2 hours. Mince garlic and add to caramelized veggies for about 2 minutes. Transfer to stock pot. Heat up 2 T oil and heat chicken until just cooked through and golden brown. Dice cooked chicken and add to veggies in pot. Add chicken broth, cream, and thyme to pot and bring to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to package directions, about 7 minutes.



7 comments:

  1. Yum Amanda...forgetting everything about muffin tops and going for all the cream! :)

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  2. Um, GORGEOUS pictures! You def undersold them. I'm so hungry for this soup now....

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  3. I am incredibly impressed by your photo journalism project. Have you ever considered a career in this? You write so well! And the photos are wonderful...especially the applesauce one.

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  4. That might be the best cooking blog post I have ever read! Seriously! Yum!

    Kate

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  5. One has to wonder...does it take longer to create the actual masterpiece, or to take the lovely pictures OF the masterpiece and all the steps in between! You are doing a lovely job, my dear. Something my school brain absolutely cannot comprehend at this point...for my creation pictures would consist of the macaroni and cheese box sitting next to the pot of water, and then the noodles after. No in between pics. :-)

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  6. can this be frozen after since it makes so much soup?

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    Replies
    1. It can be frozen although I generally freeze it without the noodles at they tend to get mushy.

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