Monday, February 03, 2014

Comfort Food: Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Today was not exactly a bad day, although I had a few moments of discouragement and disappointment when something I'd hoped would happen, ended up not working out.  Today was also not a cold day--we've had balmy temps in the 30s lately!! :)  But it seemed like a good day for comforting, nourishing food.  I had roasted a chicken on Friday--a large, plump, delicious "homegrown" chicken from our neighbor friends.  These are some GOOD chickens!!  And one of the things I like best about chicken is how I can stretch it into several meals.  I sat down on Saturday and made a menu plan for this month, as part of my experiment to see if I can keep our grocery budget at $100 or less.  (I still have 4 days unplanned at the end of the month, so we'll see what I come up with!) Anyway . . . back to the chicken.  So we had roast chicken with mashed potatoes and mixed veggies on Friday night.  Chicken quesadillas and rice on Saturday night.  Plus a couple chicken sandwiches yesterday and today . . . and then tonight, creamy chicken noodle soup.  I boiled the chicken bones for several hours during the day and got the most wonderful, rich broth . . .
. . . then I put together this recipe for supper.  I originally found it on Recipezaar (now as this creamy turkey soup recipe.  I've made it with leftover turkey also, but I think chicken is just a little better. :)  Here's my variation:

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups sliced carrots
1/4 cup flour
5 cups chicken broth, divided
2 cups milk or 2 cups cream
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (this adds a nice kick, but you can leave it out if you prefer)
1 teaspoon dried parsley (I usually leave this out because I hardly ever have it on hand)
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
8 ounces egg noodles


Saute onions and carrots in butter until soft, not brown.  Add flour and mix well.  Gradually add 2 cups broth and milk.  Cook and stir until it thickens.  Stir in remaining 3 cups broth, and all remaining ingredients.  Simmer 10-12 minutes until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.  Servings: 8-10

I actually doubled the recipe tonight, in the hopes that maybe I can stretch that chicken to one more meal!!  We'll see, though . . . I have one soup-lovin' boy in the family who can usually eat at least 3 bowls full. :)

I served the soup with Bakewell Cream biscuits.  Bakewell Cream is the Maine version of cream-of-tartar, and this is the recipe off the back of the can.  If you can't find Bakewell Cream, regular old cream-of-tartar should be just fine. :)  

Bakewell Cream Biscuits

4 cups flour (today I used half white and half whole wheat)
4 tsp Bakewell Cream or cream-of-tartar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening (I use butter--much healthier!)
1 1/2 cups cold milk

Mix and sift dry ingredients.  Add shortening or butter and mix with pastry blender.  Add milk all at once, and stir quickly with a fork (I usually use a wooden spoon instead).  Some flours may require a bit more liquid to make a soft dough.  Turn out on floured board and knead 5 or 6 times.  Roll or pat to 1/2" to 3/4" thick.  Cut with biscuit cutter.  Bake at 475ยบ F for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and leave in oven for 5 to 10 minutes until golden brown.  These biscuits are extra high and light.  (And super yummy!!)  I usually get about 12-13 biscuits out of this recipe.

Chicken soup and biscuits are comfort food at its simplest, and finest.  This is a pretty easy meal to put together, especially if you take the meat off the bones early in the day and allow plenty of time for broth-making (or you can always make broth using bouillon, but it won't be quite as yummy!).  What is your favorite comfort food or wintertime soup?

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