Exams are on right now. I’ve just finished my second one so I have two more to go! And then it’s Christmas Break Party Time! I. Can’t. Wait. Studying though doesn’t leave a lot of time for fancy, labour intensive, gourmet meals – unfortunately. However, it does mean I am home – a LOT – reading, highlighting, memorizing, making cue cards, and trying to cook dinner.
A few nights ago we had a delicious free-range, pastured organic chicken from up island for dinner which I roasted and stuffed with all kinds of goodness like oranges, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes and Chianti (thank YOU Jamie Oliver). It was very similar to this one.
Of course, we had the left over chicken and bones and bits so I decided to make some home made chicken noodle soup. I had never made soup before, and therefore didn’t have a clue as to where to start. Well, let me tell you: I FIGURED IT OUT.
It turned out brilliantly and beautifully and is probably one of the best things I’ve ever made. Plus, it’s super healthy and is a great way to use up some of the root vegetables (i.e. Parsnips) that we’ve been getting in our Saanich Organics box that we didn’t really know what to do with. I didn’t know chicken noodle soup could be so wonderful! And so now I’m sharing it with you…
Chicken Noodle Soup w/ Garlic, Herbed Butter & Grana Padano Crostini
(For the Stock):
- Left over chicken and bones from 2 organic, free range, local roasted chickens.
- 8 C Water (or blend of water, chicken broth, and/or veggie broth) - To Cover.
- 3 Celery Stalks, roughly chopped.
- 1 Onion, quartered.
- 3 Carrots, roughly chopped.
- 2 Leeks, roughly chopped and tops discarded.
- 5 Cloves Garlic.
- 1 Medium Parsnip, peeled and roughly chopped.
- 1 Large Waxy Potato, roughly chopped.
- 1 Lemon, halved.
- 1 Jalapeno or Other Hot Chili, cut in half.
- 1 Large Handful of Herbs (i.e. Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Bay Leaves).
- Small Splash of Veggie Oil.
- Approx. 1/8 C Sea Salt & A Good Twist of Fresh Black Pepper.
- 3 Stalks Celery, roughly chopped.
- 3 Medium Carrots, roughly chopped.
- 2 C Winter Squash, peeled, de-seeded, and roughly chopped.
- 1 Medium Parsnip, peeled and roughly chopped.
- 2 Leeks, roughly chopped.
- 2 C Russian Fingerling Potatoes, chopped in half (or other small, waxy potatoes).
- 1 Large Onion, quartered.
- 5 Cloves Garlic, peeled.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- 1 C Frozen Peas.
- 1 Small Handful Fresh Herbs, roughly chopped (i.e. Rosemary, Thyme, Bay Leaves).
- 3 C Cooked Short Noodle Whole Wheat Pasta, rinsed and cooled (i.e. Spirals).
- A Good Dose of Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper (to taste).
- 1 Loaf Sour Dough or Fresh Italian Bread, sliced into 1" slices.
- 1/2 C Unsalted Butter.
- 2 Roasted Garlic Bulbs.
- 1/4 C Dried Italian Herbs.
- A Small Handful of Grana Padano, grated (optional).
For the Stock:
- In a big-ass pot, chuck in all your ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce heat to a low simmer, partially covering the pot and let simmer for 5 to 6 hours. I don't have a lid for this big boy so I just used a large plate with the spoon sticking out so it wasn't a tight seal but still limited the amount of evaporation while the stock simmered.
- Once time's up, strain the stock into a deep bowl (or another pot) through a colander. Be careful! It's hot! Then strain again through a fine sieve back into the pot. Set aside for the moment. Pick through the junk in the colander, collecting the edible chicken and chuck it back into the stock. Toss (or better yet, compost!) the inedible bits. Give the soup about half an hour to cool and then scrape any "fat film" off the top. There shouldn't be much.
For the Soup:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- For the last 45 minutes of the stock simmering, toss all the soup vegetables (except the peas - leave them alone for now) plus the rosemary and thyme into a roasting pan, drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 - 40 minutes until veggies are tender but still holding their shape.
- Remove from the oven and let cool. Once you have scraped the film off the top of the stock, chuck all your roasted veg plus the bay leaves into the pot. Stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer for about 8 minutes - add the peas and the cooked pasta noodles - and simmer for 2 more. Make sure you check the flavor - if you need to add more salt or pepper go ahead - but add slowly! A couple Tbsp at a time! You can always add more, however if you add too much you can't take it away!
For the Crostini:
- During the last 8 minutes of your soup simmer, pre-heat the broiler in your oven.
- Combine the butter, herbs, and roasted garlic and mash well. Spread over the slices of bread and top with the cheese.
- Place on a baking sheet and let toast till golden, approx. 3-4 minutes.
- NOW: Dish up a bowl, grab a couple slices of the crostini (and as you can tell, I also made a small simple side salad of greens, onion, avocado, tomato, and toasted pine-nuts with some olive oil and salt and pepper) and....