Here is how I made it this time (the recipe changes depending on my mood). The amounts of the ingredients are all arbitrary. I used raw chicken thigh meat with skin, bone, and visible fat removed (I could use precooked chicken but I like to use raw chicken meat). I cut into bite size chunks, seasoned with salt and pepper, and dredged in flour (a part of the crust will dissolve and help thicken the soup). I browned them in small batches in olive oil using the pan in which soup will be cooked. I took out the chicken and set aside. At this point you should have browned bits or “fond” on the bottom of the pan. I added coarsely chopped onion and celery and sautéd for 2-3 minutes and then finely chopped garlic and sautéed for another minute. I deglazed with a small amount of the chicken broth. I added back the chicken, the remaining broth, carrot and potatoes (I used baby red potates). For good measure, I also added three bay leaves. I let it simmer for 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are cooked. I then added Japanese dried udon noodles broken up into pieces a few inches long and let it simmer for another 15-20 minutes or until the udon noodle is done. Starch from the udon also helps thicken the soup. The udon noodle will not get too soft even if the soup is reheated later. I seasoned with salt and pepper and added milk (about 20% of the volume of the broth). Because of the brown color from the “fond“, the color of the soup is “beige”. I served this as a starter, garnished with chopped chives. The broth is lovely and the soup in very comforting on a cold winter”s night.
Every time I make my version of chicken noodle soup, this “Far side” cartoon by Gary Larson comes to mind. I am sure this slightly “dark side” humor won’t appeal to everybody but I found it funny. I have been a fan of Far side for quite some time. Unfortunately, Gary Larson retired some years ago after making more than enough money (I am sure). In any case, I also make a cold-fighting chicken noodle soup, although it may not be quite the same as a Jewish (hen) mother’s.
(This cartoon is, no doubt, copyrighted by the Farside, Gary Larson, hope posting it in my blog is OK)
I decided to make this soup not because we had a cold but because my wife made a nice chicken stock from chicken bones (breast and thigh bones, which I produced while deboning chicken for other dishes) and vegetables (onion, carrot, ginger root, celery with bay leaves and black pepper corns). My chicken noodle soup deviates from the traditional in several ways. I use Japanese udon うどん noodle (dry one) and also make my soup thickened. My wife’s broth (fat and solids removed after overnight refrigeration) is very nice with the sweetness coming from the vegetables and with a hint of ginger giving an “Oriental or something” touch (no salt added at this point). I usually add either milk or cream at the end (optional). So, this is more a type of chicken noodle stew than traditional chicken noodle soup.