Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ricks "Ultimate" Chicken Noodle Soup

The secret to my chicken soup is the double cooking process that I use to get the maximum flavor and tenderness out of the bird. To keep the chicken from becoming rubbery (which happens if you cook it in the broth), I pan roast the breasts before cutting them into chunks and adding them to the soup.  The deep chicken flavor in the broth comes from pan searing the chicken bones (and any residual meat on them) to caramelize the proteins before adding water to make the stock.  My chicken soup uses an absolute minimum of seasonings, so the chicken stays the “star” of the dish.  I thicken the soup with French bread that I turn into crumbs in a food processor.  This technique, rather than using a flour slurry or cornstarch, keeps the flavors clear and keeps the soup from becoming starchy.  It’s really easy to make and freezes well so you can enjoy it later.


4 chicken breasts, with bones
10 Cups water
1 Tbs Kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp Herbs de Provence
1 pkg frozen mixed vegetables
2 bunches watercress
3 cups egg noodles
6” piece French baguette, processed into crumbs in food processor


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  De-bone the chicken breasts, leaving the skin on and set aside.  Heat a heavy pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add 2 Tbs olive oil and place the bones and any meat remaining on them into the pot.

Cook untouched for 3 to 5 minutes until well browned. Turn the bones over and cook the other side, swirling them on the bottom to loosen the fond (the wonderful brown flavor bits developing on the bottom of the pan) and prevent it from burning.

When both sides of the bones and meat are browned, add 10 cups of water.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and add 1 Tbs Kosher salt.

Add the fresh ground black pepper.

Add 2 tsp of Herbs de Provence (available in the spice section of your grocery store) and simmer for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the boned chicken breasts with Kosher salt.

Add the fresh ground black pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake the chicken breasts in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until the skin is browned and crisp.

When perfectly done, the internal temperature of the chicken is 175 degrees.  Remove the cooked chicken breasts from the oven and let cool until you can handle them.

Scoop the bones and any loose pieces of meat from the pot with a wire spider or slotted spoon.

Skim the loose herbs from the broth with a mesh strainer.

Add the package of frozen veggies.

Cut the stems off the watercress leaves.

Add the watercress to the pot.

Pull off the skin from the chicken breasts and discard.....

(or serve the crispy skin as a treat to “man’s best friend” who will then absolutely love you forever!).

Cut the chicken into pieces and return it to the broth.

Add 3 cups of dry egg noodles and let the soup cook 10 minutes until they are soft.

Cut the French bread into pieces.

Process in a food processor until it turns to crumbs.

Stir the crumbs into the soup and let the soup cook an additional 5 minutes until it thickens.

Adjust the salt and pepper and serve.

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