Saturday, May 4, 2013

Nana Kate's Chicken Soup - It Will Cure What Ails You.

Chicken soup is a common classic comfort food ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I vividly remember the day that Nana Kate taught me to make her famous Chicken Noodle Soup.  Give someone a bowl of soup, and they are fed for the day – teach them to soup and you feed them for a life time. She even gave me permission to post the recipe, such as it is, on my blog.

Such as it is? Yes. Nana Kate usually cooks by eye and handful. She cooks by feel. (It's me who tries to write it all down).

We started by taking a big fat chicken and removing the inards and pop-up plastic do-hickey. The chicken went into my very biggest soup pot and was covered with water. We ground black pepper until the surface of the water was covered with black flecks. We brought this to a boil, then covered the pot and put in on simmer until the chicken was fall off the bone tender. Periodically we skimmed any foam from the surface.
Homemade PastaImage via Wikipedia
While the stock was being made, Nana Kate dumped flour into a large bowl. She said 2 cups – it looked more like 4. 2 eggs were cracked and added, and enough milk to pull the dough into a ball. It was the consistency of bread dough. Too moist? add flour. Too dry? Add milk. Sprinkle the surface of a large work space with flour and roll out the dough until about a 1/4 inch thick - uniformly. 
The dough is then cut with a sharp knife. The noodle ribbons should be about pencil wide and six inches of so long. Leave the noodles on the table to dry out. HUGE HINT – they won’t dry when it’s pouring down rain outside – so they will taste a little more dumpling-like but still oh, so good!

Samgyetang, a Korean chicken soupImage via WikipediaBack at the soup pot…

When the chicken is falling off the bone tender, take the chicken out to cool in a bowl.
To the stock pot add:

Nana Kate said, 2 T of salt, but I think it ended up being about 5 T. Start with a little and keep taste testing.

2 T Morton’s Nature Seasoning (though again this ended up being about 5T so keep tasting until you are happy.)

1 carton of chicken stock (or several cubes of bouillon)

a half a plastic bag of barley (1 ½ cups of dry barley).

Add about 2c of carrots cut into small bites (we just used a small bag of pre-scraped carrots and cut them into thirds).

5 stalks of celery cut into bite size pieces (green part only)

1 onion chopped

Cook until the vegetables are tender and the barley is chewy. Add chicken that you have deboned, de-skinned, and cut into bite size pieces.

To your simmering pot, add the strands of homemade pasta. It will take about ten minutes for the pasta to cook through. Your kitchen will smell FABULOUS. Your family will come running to the table. There will be no conversation as everyone settles into the comfort of their bowl of Nana Kate's Mystical Magical Cure Everything Soup….and they will remember it for years to come and feel loved.  

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