This is what happens when you’re too lazy to properly defrost a chicken. So, I stuck this baby (read: chicken) into a stock pot with 4 quarts of water, and whatever aromatics or root vegetables I had on hand. In this case it was carrots, half an onion, an inch and a half of ginger root, thyme and a bay leaf. I didn’t even half enough garlic (just a few cloves) so I saved it for the mushrooms and swiss chard. And I just let it simmer away during our morning routine.
The whole process was organic. I’m sure we’ve all been there. Just make do with the ingredients you have on hand and pray that it is edible…which explains why my soup is brimming with pappardelle instead of a more sensible noodle. Sometimes it works and sometimes, it just falls flat. Well this one was a winner! I kind of despise traditional chicken soup that is so full of salt that you would just float if thrown into the Atlantic after eating it…without even trying. So I looked for all kinds of ways to add flavor. The mushrooms. The swiss chard. The lemon juice. The soy sauce (to enhance the umami taste of the mushrooms, duh). The result was a refreshing, healthy and FILLING chicken noodle soup (no soda on the side).
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 3.5 oz package shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
- 1 10 oz package kaleidoscope chard, or 1 bunch of your favorite dark greens (kale, spinach), rinsed, chopped and ready to go
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- juice from 2 lemons (do NOT let any of the seeds in!)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 quarts low sodium chicken stock (see recipe below)
- 1/2 lb egg noodles
- 2 cups shredded chicken
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until tender (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the mushrooms and allow them to brown slightly before stirring (this helps develop the flavor). After a few minutes, add the swiss chard, salt, pepper, lemon juice and soy sauce. Give it all a stir and add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and set your timer. Then reduce to a simmer (medium/medium low heat).
- The chard will take 10 minutes to cook. The noodles, in my case, took 4 minutes. So, at T-4 minutes, I added my pasta. If your pasta take 8 or 9 minutes, well, I’ll let you do the math.
- Finally, add the chicken and let it warm through.
- Adjust for seasonings and serve. I like to add some crushed red chili flakes.
When possible, I like to make chicken stock the Ina way. Just like her, I add everything (no need for peeling or chopping the vegetables) to a large stockpot, bring to a boil and let it cook (not at a raging boil, partially covered). Except I don’t let it boil away for 4 hours. I let it boil for 1 hour with the chicken, take the bird out and salvage what I can of the meat, and let the rest of the liquid reduce for another hour. Anyway, I made do with what I had on hand, which was the following:
- a handful of baby carrots
- 1 1/2 in ginger root
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 6-8 sprigs of thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper (4-5 peppercorns work better)
- 1 3-4lb chicken
- 4 quarts of water
Take the chicken out with a pair of poultry lifters very carefully letting the excess water drip back into the pot. Place on a cutting board until cool enough to handle. Shred the chicken by hand.
The stock works better when you have a full head of garlic you can throw in (cut in half) as well as parsley and dill. I’d love to try a tomato/cilantro/spicy version in the future. Will keep you guys posted!