By Lori Powell
Sooo…I’m sitting here once again in the kitchen, writing to you all, waiting for the next layer of ice to form outside. Yes, yet another storm and you all know what I’m talking about since it’s covering half the U.S.
I slipped and slid my way down what I have now learned is not 1/3 of a mile but a ½-mile driveway. It may not seem like much of a difference but when you are skidding on ice, it might as well be another 100 miles down the road.
I am exhausted and so might you be, too, since all of the ice scraping/shoveling and white-knuckle driving certainly takes its toll! At times like this, a super-intoxicating aroma guaranteed to soothe the soul is chicken broth, roasting chicken or chicken soup (makes you feel that all will be right with the world). There’s nothing better when you are in the shape I’m in…but how to make it quick?
ROTISSERIE CHICKEN to the rescue, I say. You can now buy them au naturel without those extra, not-so-nice seasonings that markets insist on slathering on the poor birds which only increases the sodium and your bad morning breath! So look for the one that is natural with only some sea salt and pepper added. If you cannot find this version we are removing the skin anyway.
Oh, and the other surprise ingredient (but not to worry if you don’t have it on hand) is the leftover rind of a wedge of Parmesan which truly gives this soup body and depth. So my message to you is to start saving the cheese rinds going forward! Also to quicken things up, buy the veggies already chopped in the produce section or even at the salad bar at the market.
Here is my “oh-things-will-get-better and spring-is-imminent” quick take chicken noodle soup! Slurp away….
Serves 6 (you’ll want leftovers)
1 rotisserie chicken (about 4 pounds)
1 leftover Parmesan cheese rind
2 boxes (1 quart each) low-sodium free range chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 (8-ounce) box sliced cremini or button mushrooms
3 carrots, chopped
2 leeks, white and pale green parts washed and drained
2 parsnips, chopped (optional but so much better if you add them)
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons dried
2 smashed garlic cloves
1/2 cup white wine, optional
½ pound extra wide egg noodles
Finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper. to taste
Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Remove all meat from the bones, shred meat and reserve. Reserve the main carcass of the bird and larger bones. Add reserved bones, Parmesan rind, chicken broth and 2 cups water to a 4-quart pot and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered. Strain and keep warm over low heat, covered.
In a 5-quart pot heat olive oil over moderate heat and cook onion, mushrooms, carrots, leeks, parsnips, celery, thyme and garlic, stirring, until softened about 6 minutes. Stir in white wine and reduce to 2 tablespoons, about 5 minutes.
Add strained chicken broth, shredded cooked meat, and noodles, cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are soft and noodles are cooked, adding more water if necessary, 6 to 8 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan and ground black pepper to taste.
EXTRAS: Serve with crusty bread or oyster or saltine crackers and possibly a glass of wine…best to wear PJs while you slurp since sleepy time is right around the corner….
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