I have memories of my grandmother's homemade chicken and dumplings, and to this day, I've never had any that come close. Unfortunately, I don't have that recipe, but I've come up with a chicken noodle soup recipe that my kids love.
It's really not that difficult to make great tasting Chicken and Noodle Soup. Really! With the convenience of using a supermarket roasted chicken, you can get incredible flavor without starting from scratch.
When I started testing recipes, I looked through all my conventional cookbooks, gourmet cookbooks, online, etc. All the recipes I found seemed to lack the flavor I was looking for - you know, that great 'chickeny' depth of homemade chicken soup? So, I started looking in those cookbooks from churches and women's organizations.
Although I didn't find the exact recipe there, I did have some thoughts that led to my current method. I use a noodle recipe from a very sweet lady who goes to my church, Delores Koster. Her soup recipe is in the St. Francis Xavier, Carbondale, Illinois Cookbook.
The struggle I was having lied in making the stock/broth/base for the soup. That's when I decided there had to be a better, easier, faster way to get the flavor I wanted without waiting for a whoe chicken, vegetables and some seasonings to figure out how to marry together appropriately.
One night after my daughter's basketball game, we stopped to get a rotisserie chicken and the grocery store for dinner. My family only likes the white meat, so we have part of the chicken left over. Rather than tossing it, because no one liked the dark meat, I froze the whole thing until I could figure out how to use up the remaining chicken.
My son had been asking for homemade chicken and noodles, and that's when I decided to give it a try. I added what was left of the rotisserie chicken into water with some vegetables and spices to make the base for the soup. After a couple of hours of simmering on the stove - and it smelled great - I strained the mixture and boned what was left of the chicken. Ironically, my kids don't really like a lot of chicken in their soup, so this idea works out great for us. And, for some reason, they eat the dark meat in this soup.
I add the noodles and let it simmer for at least an hour or two. Usually, I have towater prior to adding the noodles. The result is really good. It has become one of those meals that everyone looks forward to, and the kids always ask for when they don't feel well. I guess that's the true test of chicken soup, right? I hope you enjoy it, too!
By the way, feel free to add new carrots or whatever other kind of vegetables you would like to this soup. My kids prefer to have a bowl of steamed broccolli and cauliflower that they can dip in the broth, so I don't add anything but noodles to the strained broth for us.
Chicken Noodle Soup
1 Grocery Store Rotisserie Chicken - or the remaining part of one. (If you like a lot of chicken in your soup, you may want to add a chicken breast or two if not using a whole chicken) 1 Medium Onion, quartered 2 Stalks Celery, cut into 2 inch pieces 5 whole Peppercorns 1 T. Poultry Seasoning 1 T. Sea Salt Water
In a Dutch Oven, or large soup pot. Add all of the above ingredients except water. Pour enough water over to cover ingredients by 1 inch.
Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and leave uncovered for at least 1 hour, but preferably 2. I like to start this first thing in the morning to have for lunch, or at noon for an early dinner.
With a slotted spook, or spider, strain chicken, bones, and vegetables out of pot. Put pot back on burner, and add about 3 cups of water.
Bone chicken, reserving meat for the soup. If you would like to add vegetables, especially carrots, do so now. If adding peas, you can wait until the last 10 minutes of total cooking time.
1 egg 3 egg yolks Cold water 2 C. Flour 2 t. Salt
In a medium mixing bowl, add all eggs. Whisk until light. Add 3 tablespoons of cold water and salt and whisk until well blended.
Add flour and mix with a fork until you can gather it up in your hands and form a ball. Depending on the weather, I've had to ad a bit more water to bring it together; but, be careful not to add to much and make it sticky.
Let the dough sit for about 5 minutes. This is important because it allows the dough to be rolled out much easier, and less like elastic.
flour the area where you will roll out the dough.
Roll out the dough into a large circle. I get it as thin as I can, about 1/8 inch, although some people like their noodles thicker. If you prefer them thick, you will need to add for time for cooking to make them tender.
Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into noodles the desired width and length you prefer.
Put the noodles into the simmering broth and continue to simmer for at least 1/2 hour, but they are more tender if you have the time to let them simmer for an hour.
You can add the chicken about the last 15 minutes.
Taste for seasoning, because I usually need to add at least another teaspoon of salt at this point.
Mary Mechler has been cooking and baking since she was 5 years old. Mary is excited to share her love of cooking and great cooking tools with others who are cooking enthusiasts, through the website, http://cookprostore.com which offers kitchen cookware, chefs knives and kitchen cutlery. If you find something you like, and place an order, I'll throw in a free copy of Amy Coleman's cookbook while supplies last!