Saturday, November 1, 2014

It's a Chicken Soup day!

It is rainy and kind of windy and pretty cold, about 40 degrees, so this is what I think of as chicken noodle soup weather.  I'm really not a snob of any kind including food, but I confess to being something of a chicken soup purist.  All that is in my soup is chicken, bay leaf, salt, a stick of celery and just a little onion.  I like using chicken thighs as the dark meat seems to make the best broth, I'm sure it is the fat content or something.  I put all the ingredients in a pot in the morning and bring to a boil, it then gets turned down to low and left there to simmer for several hours.  (The house smells wonderful in an hour or two)

When I think it is done I take out the big pieces with a slotted spoon or strainer, just depends on how much work I want to put into it. (if we are having company I use the strainer, just for us the slotted spoon is fine)

I like to leave the fat on the broth, mmmmm...good!
It is, by the way, the fat that contains the substance that scientists have pointed to as helping with a cold, which our grandmothers knew already!  :)

Now you can use any noodle you like - if you buy them I like a kosher egg noodle.  My favorite noodles however are the homemade ones, the soup and the noodles are my paternal grandmothers recipe.  She was a good German cook!

Mix together about 4 cups flour and  4 or 5 eggs, a dash (1/4 tsp) of salt and rub a little oil on your hands when you get ready to turn it out on the rolling surface.  Since eggs come in different sizes I add 4 then if it is not moist enough I add another.  This is an incredibly stiff dough and quite honestly if I did not have the pasta maker my thumbs couldn't do this anymore.

I cut it into little balls and start putting it through the
pasta machine
  I put it through 2 or three times to get the texture I like.  If you do it by hand (rolling it out) it should be very thin.

Let this dry for awhile, ideally for several hours, however if you don't decide what to have for dinner till the last minute like me you can let dry just a little while, you just have to be more careful when cutting as the pieces will stick together more.  So while the noodles dry I will tell you how my grandma told me how she learned to make noodles.  My grandfathers mother was blind, but she made the best noodles, so grandma learned from her, she would take the rolled out noodle dough in to mother-in-law and she would feel it and say "No it needs to be a little thinner, or yes it is perfect!"  Grandma would lay the rounds out on tea towels on the bed and  let them dry,  then she would roll them up like a burrito and cut them thin as paper.  I never got my noodles that thin.  Apparently a good German girl of the day had thin noodles!  I use the lovely pasta machine that grandma had as she got older and it works for me! 

 It is a hand crank and the noodle cutter is an add on, they make different cutter add-ons for different noodles.

I cut the pieces of dough to length desired for noodles and then run them through the machine.  If you choose to do them by hand and you like thick noodles a pizza cutter is another good tool to use.  My family likes noodles of all kinds and we have used them all!

When the noodles have dried for a half hour or so we turn up the broth and turn them in.  The thin noodles cook quickly, if they are thick you will need to bite into one or two and see if the center is cooked!

A little homemade bread and the chicken meat either in the bowl or on the side and this is a guaranteed warming meal!  If you make a lot of noodles they can be dried and kept, I always put them in a bag in the freezer.

During the depression grandma used to feed threshing crews, so if there was not enough chicken to flavor the broth she would add ketchup.  To this day I eat my chicken soup this way because my dad liked it this way!  Only homemade though!  The ketchup is added individually as the people who marry into the family think this is horrible!  :)


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