Chicken Stock and Chicken Noodle Soup

These is so much versatility in chicken stock. It keeps very well frozen. Use it to steam rice, add to sauces, freeze into ice cubes (in a tray reserved for this purpose) or in freezer bags or containers. Here’s what you shouldn’t do: buy chicken stock. Do I occasionally get lazy or need the stock tonight and think, it won’t be that bad, I’ll get the organic stuff. And the truth is, its not that bad, but its so easy to make and store, and if you’ve roasted a chicken, you already have the majority of the ingredients. As for the soup, make it double rich and everyone will be calling you for your recipe.

Chicken Stock
1 cooked chicken carcass from last night’s roasted chicken, with the meat and any stuffing removed
1 chopped onion
1 chopped carrot
1 large rib of celery, with leaves, chopped
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 tablespoons black peppercorns 

Use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to break the chicken into six or seven pieces. Place in a large pot and cover with 3 inches of water. Turn the heat to medium-low. As the temperature comes up, do not let the heat get too high. You want the fat to float to the top. When it does, skim it off and discard. If the stock boils, the fat molecules get broken up and mixed into the liquid, resulting in cloudy stock. Let this cook forty-five minutes, skimming as necessary. Add the remaining ingredients and cook 1 hour more. Don’t be too fussy about the chopping because you are going to strain the stock at the end.

Turn off heat and pour stock through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Allow strained sauce to cool to room temperature before you put it in the freezer, lest it warm up all your frozen stuff. Discard the solids. That’s it!

Double Rich Chicken Noodle Soup
1 whole, uncooked chicken
enough chicken stock to generously cover the chicken in the pot
1 carrot, peeled and diced small
1 bunch fresh dill, cleaned well and chopped
1/2 cup dried egg noodles per serving

Rinse chicken, remove any package from the cavity and place it in a large pot. Cover generously with stock. Simmer over medium heat 1 hour. Remove the chicken. It should be falling apart. Allow to cool. Meanwhile, taste the soup and add salt to taste. Add the carrots to the stock and cook until they are softened, about 20 minutes. When the chicken is cool, pull all the meat off the bones and chop into bite-sized pieces. Discard the carcass and the skin. Put the chicken meat back into the soup, along with the fresh dill. 

Boil the egg noodles separately and put them into soup bowls, then ladle the soup over your noodles. I learned this trick from my mom. If you have leftovers, just boil some fresh noodles and serve with the leftover soup. Otherwise, if you cook the noodles directly in the soup, they get soggy when reheated.

This soup is best served with really good, crusty bread smeared with European butter sprinkled with sea salt.

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