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by msmolly

Food Sunday: Chicken Broth and Chicken Noodle Soup

8:00 am in Uncategorized by msmolly

Chicken Noodle Soup I posted this recipe a couple of weeks ago on Teddy Partridge’s Souper Bowl Sunday Late Night thread, but because some Firepups wanted it and didn’t see that thread, I’m posting it again here.
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A flavorful soup requires a flavorful stock/broth as a base. My recipe for rich beef broth, and a beef vegetable with barley soup, is at my Food Sunday post from last November:

Rich Beef Broth, and Old Fashioned Beef Vegetable Soup

These recipes, with slight adaptations, are from the Cook’s Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen’s Soup, Stews and Chilis cookbook, which I highly recommend. It is loaded with recipes that are exhaustively tested and are uniformly excellent.

Simple Chicken Broth (makes about 8 cups of broth):

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
About 3 lbs. whole chicken legs, backs, and/or wings, hacked with a meat cleaver into 2″ pieces. I use wings and legs, since backs are harder to find.
1 medium onion, chopped medium
8 cups water
2 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves

1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the chicken pieces and brown lightly, about 5 minutes; transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces and transfer to the bowl.

2. Add the onion to the fat in the pot and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Return the chicken pieces to the pot along with any accumulated juices, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken has released its juices, about 20 minutes.

3. Add the water, salt and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a gentle simmer, and cook, skimming as needed, until the broth tastes rich and flavorful, about 20 minutes longer. Simmering longer than 20 minutes will not improve the broth.

4. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer, then defat the broth. You can save some of the fat to use to cook the vegetables in the soup recipe to follow.

Chicken left over after straining the broth will be dry and flavorless, so discard it. You can use whole chicken for this instead, reserving the breasts after browning, and hacking up the remainder as described above. Add the reserved breasts back into the broth when you add the water, salt and bay leaves. Remove them and shred their meat into bite sized pieces, and strain the remainder as described. I often just purchase a couple of roasted chicken pieces from the supermarket deli instead.

Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup
The flavor of this soup depends on homemade broth; do not substitute store-bought broth.

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, or use skimmed fat from broth above for richer flavor
1 medium onion, minced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
1 celery rib, sliced 1/4″ thick
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves, or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
8 cups Simple Chicken Broth (with or without shredded breast meat)
2 cups (3 oz.) wide egg noodles (I often use a few more noodles)
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
Salt & ground black pepper

1. Heat oil or chicken fat in large Dutch oven until shimmering. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are nearly tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

2. Stir in noodles and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. They will taste much better cooked in the broth than if you cook them separately and add them, although the broth will be slightly cloudy. Stir in the chicken meat and let it heat through, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Photo by Jeffreyw, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

by msmolly

Food Sunday: Rich Beef Broth, and Old Fashioned Beef Vegetable Soup

6:00 am in Uncategorized by msmolly

Vegetable soup

Cropped version of Agricultural Research Service image, from USDA, in the public domain.


The following two recipes are from Soups, Stews and Chilis, a wonderful cookbook from America’s Test Kitchens, AKA Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. Typical of books from Cook’s Illustrated, the recipes begin with a long introduction that describes how the Test Kitchen tested and selected each component to develop the best results. The recipes in their books and magazines are uniformly excellent.

This Rich Beef Broth is simple and inexpensive, and can be the basis for several soups. Ingredients include mushrooms, soy sauce, and tomato paste, all important to add Umami or savory taste.

Rich Beef Broth (makes approximately 8 cups)
85% lean ground beef is preferable; 93% lean ground beef will also work, but it will be less flavorful. Be sure to let the fond form on the bottom of the pot in step 1, because it is important for the flavor and color of the broth.
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. white mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed and quartered (I use baby portobellos)
1 large onion, chopped medium
1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
8 cups water
1 lg. carrot, peeled and chopped medium
1 lg. celery rib, chopped medium
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves

1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion is browned and a golden brown fond has formed on the bottom of the pot, 8 to 12 minutes.
2. Stir in the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the red wine, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until nearly evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Stir in the water, carrot, celery, soy sauce, salt, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a gentle simmer, and cook, skimming as needed, until the broth tastes rich and flavorful, about 1-1/2 hours. Do not overcook, longer isn’t better.
4. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer, discard the solids, and defat the broth using one of several methods. (The broth can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days or frozen for up to one month.)

Old Fashioned Beef Vegetable Soup with Barley (6 – 8 servings)
This is the best vegetable soup I have ever eaten! Look for whole sirloin steak tips, or substitute flank steak or blade steak well trimmed. Avoid meat that has been cut up for stir fry. I usually just cut up a sirloin steak if I can’t find steak tips. And the frozen mixed vegetables are my own addition.
1 lb. beef sirloin steak tips, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Salt and ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 lb. cremini (baby portobello) mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 medium onion, chopped medium
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tsp.)
1-1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dry red wine
6 cups Rich Beef Broth (above)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup pearl barley
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 bag frozen mixed vegetables (because vegetable soup should have lots of veggies!)

1. Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tsp. of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 5 to 7 minutes, reducing the heat if the pot begins to scorch. Transfer the browned beef to a medium bowl. Repeat with 2 tsp. more oil and the remaining beef; transfer to the bowl.
2. Add the remaining 2 tsp oil to the pot and place over medium heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook until softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the wine, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until nearly evaporated, about 1 minute.
3. Stir in the broth, diced tomatoes, barley, carrots, celery, bay leaves, browned meat and any accumulated juice. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce to a gentle simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Stir in the 1/2 bag of frozen vegetables and continue to simmer another 10 minutes.
4. Off the heat, remove the bay leaves. Stir in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Enjoy!

by msmolly

Food Sunday: Senate Restaurant Bean Soup

3:42 pm in Uncategorized by msmolly

The gray, chilly days of Northern Indiana November always make me hungry for soup, and I make several kinds and freeze some for when there’s a lot of snow on the ground. Senate Restaurant Bean Soup is one of my favorites. It is easy and filling, and it’s inexpensive and good for you, too!

This recipe comes from a 1976 Junior League of Grand Rapids, Michigan cookbook, and I’ve adapted it a bit over the years. For example, the original recipe calls for navy beans, which are much less interesting and flavorful. Bean soup is on the menu in the Senate’s restaurant every day. There are several stories about the origin of that mandate, but none has been corroborated. The recipes found online usually omit some of the ingredients in my recipe.

Ingredients

1 package of 15-bean soup beans; discard the flavoring packet, if there is one

2 large yellow onions, chopped

1 or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped

3 Tbsp. butter or margarine

1 smoked ham hock shank (or any very meaty ham bone)

2 bay leaves

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

1/2 lemon

6 stems parsley

3/4 tsp. dried thyme

Assembly

Soak beans overnight, then drain and rinse them well under hot water. Lightly brown the onion and garlic in butter. Put beans, 3 qts. water, and all of the other ingredients into a large pot or dutch oven (a slow cooker would work too). Cook covered, slowly, at least 3 hours or until the liquid is reduced by half. Remove and discard the bay leaves, the 1/2 lemon, and what’s left of the parsley stems. Remove 2 cups of beans with a little liquid, puree them in a blender, and return the puree to the soup to thicken it. Remove the ham bone from the pot, remove the meat, cut it into small pieces and return it to the soup. Season with freshly ground pepper and 1 Tbsp. salt. Serve with cornbread and a tossed salad. Makes about 8 servings. It can be gently reheated, and freezes well.

Enjoy!