Saturday, February 1, 2014

Chicken Vegetable and Noodle Soup

     We are on our third day in a row of SNOW DAYs, and for South Carolina, that’s a lot of days in a row.  It started as sleet and freezing rain, then a couple inches of snow on top.  That’s not bad and certainly shouldn’t cause any major problems if you’re north of the Mason Dixon line. We are well south of that line down here so this type of storm - we shut the state down. Truthfully, a Snow Day in the south can provide more life application educational opportunities for children than a week of schooling!  
     We also run out for milk and bread, (as well as beer and wine to deal with cabin fever).  Having lived through South Carolina’s BLIZZARD of ’73 when we received 36 inches and six foot snow drifts that lasted for 10 days – milk and bread are very important when you have no electricity.  I remember vividly my mother cooking a large pot of vegetable soup on a Coleman gas stove.  My dad and I then loaded the soap on our sled – the same sled Natalie is playing on today – and hauling it through the blizzard to friends and neighbors to give them a hot meal.
     That memory of my parents, and the fact that many are already without power, urged me to make a large pot of soup.  Although I love my mother’s recipe for vegetable soup, I opted to make Chicken Vegetable Noodle soup.  Soup on a cold and wintery day just warms the soul.  This soup is a two part process, but it’s all around a pretty simple recipe.

Part One – Boiling the Chicken and making broth

Ingredients –
1 whole chicken (rinsed and cleaned out)
Water to cover chicken by about an inch
1Tbsp. dried basil
1Tbsp. onion powder
1Tbsp. garlic powder
¼ cup kosher salt
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. whole peppercorns (or 1 Tbsp of ground black pepper)

Place the chicken in a large pot and cover with the water.  Add all the other ingredients.  Heat over high heat until it starts boiling, then reduce to medium.  Cook for about 25 minutes.
Remove bird to a bowl for cooling; strain broth into another large pot using a tea strainer or cheesecloth.
When the bird cools pick the meat off and discard the carcass.  Tear the meat into bite size chunks (sometimes I use a knife on the breasts).

Part Two –

Ingredients –

The following have no measurements.  I just add what I feel needs to be in it according to my preference and taste.  Most are more than a cup, but it's your soup!
Baby carrots, cut into thirds
Frozen corn
Frozen green peas
5-8 leaves of kale, stems removed and finely chopped
1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
Options- (I sometimes add these too)
¼ cup of pearl barley
Sliced mushrooms
Frozen cut green beans
Elbow noodles (These are cooked in a separate pot, drained, rinsed and added to bowls just prior to serving soup.  Leftover noodles can be placed in Ziploc storage bags and refrigerated for the next meal.)

Directions –
Add chicken and all veggies EXCEPT onions and mushrooms to the broth and heat over medium high heat.  In a skillet add a Tbsp. olive oil and heat over medium high heat.  Add onions and mushrooms.  Cook until softened; about five or six minutes, then add to pot.

Bring soup up to a slight boil, and then reduce heat to simmer. Allow to simmer for an hour or so.
To serve, place noodles in your bowl, cover with hot soup and stir gently. 


**Note- Soup is ALWAYS better the second day!