Thursday, January 26, 2012

Traditional Chicken Noodle Soup, with a twist!

Chicken Noodle Soup. Classic, warm, and satisfying. I think that too many of us resort to the pre-made, microwave-in-two-minutes, canned soups; and with a simple recipe like Chicken Noodle Soup that can be that much more delicious when it's made at home, I challenge any beginner cook to ditch the cans and try this out!

When you think classic chicken noodle, here's (probably) what you are thinking:
Chicken Broth
Egg Noodles
Carrots, Celery, and Onions

This is exactly what I thought too. And let me tell you, Boston. Is. Cold. The thought alone of classic chicken noodle soup warmed my soul, and I knew it was the next thing I wanted to try. I also LOVE making soups. They are generally simple to make, they go far, and you can very easily make an ordinary recipe extraordinary with your own personal touches.

With that, I'd like to share with you the first recipe I put together strictly on my own instincts: Lemon-Twisted Chicken Noodle Soup.

Here is what you need:
2 cans of chicken broth (about 3 cups)
3 carrots
3 celery stalks
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
3 cups water
1 package Purdue Shortcuts (you may remember my love affair with these from my post on Chicken and Barley Chili...)
2 cups medium egg noodles
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1 medium lemon (THE TWIST)
Parmesan Cheese (because...why not?)

Here's what you do:
In a 6 quart pot, heat up about two tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil.
Add to the oil the garlic, onion, carrots, and celery all chopped and seasoned with salt and pepper. Zest your lemon over the vegetables. Stir and coat in the oil and zest, add the two bay leaves and cover over medium heat. Soften the veggies for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid them sticking to the bottom.

Over high heat, add the water, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Stir occasionally while bringing the liquid to a boil.
When the water is boiling, add the egg noodles and juice the lemon into the soup. QUICK TIP! Avoid getting seeds in your soup by juicing the lemon cut side up and letting the juice flow over the side of the rind.
Simmer uncovered over medium heat, again stirring occasionally.
When the noodles are almost cooked through, add the chicken (shredded or chopped, however you prefer).
Stir and simmer for another 2 minutes to heat the chicken through.

Serve in a deep bowl and top with Parmesan cheese!

I absolutely love the lemon zest and juice in this soup. For a hearty meal, the citrus adds some lovely brightness on your tongue. You should really get that lemon essence in every bite of vegetable, which had been cooked down with the zest, and when you take big gulps of broth.

I also like the lemon because I made the decision to use low sodium broth so this makes up for any chicken flavor that may have been "compromised." The bay leaves, garlic, and lemon are really loving each other, too!

So, you see, this is really simple! It is also really flavorful and satisfying. I love doing broth based soups on work nights because I can get dinner on the table quickly. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

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