Saturday, March 23, 2013

Half a Chicken Soup

Conceived and first prepared March 22, 2013. Reverses the usual order and method of cooking. Speeds up process by using supermarket rotisserie chicken. Yields a rich, flavorsome stock, low in fat and carbohydrates, packed with tender vegetables and egg noodles, and plenty of meat in about an hour.
3 qt (3 liters) cold water
1 large yellow onion, peeled but whole
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into large pieces
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces on an angle
celery leaves, if available, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, cut into large piece on an angle
fistful of parsley, tied into a tight bundle with kitchen twine
1 large bay leaf
8 peppercorns
2 allspice berries
4 whole gariic cloves, lightly crushed
1/2 of a 3 lb (1.4 kg) rotisserie chicken, cut into serving-size pieces, skin and fat discarded, along with the juices within the package
8 oz (225 g) extra-wide egg noodles, boiled 4 minutes in two quarts of salted water, and drained
Place the water and onion in a six-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Prepare the parsnips, and after 5 minutes, add them and the parsley, garlic and spices. Reduce heat to a fast simmer. Prepare the carrots, celery, parsley, and add them after 6 minutes. Cook until the vegetables are about two-thirds done, as tested with the tip of a paring knife. Transfer the carrots, onions, parsnips, and, optionally, the celery, to a saucepan or large bowl. Pour the stock through a wire strainer into the pan and discard the debris. Return vegetables and stock back to the larger saucepan and add the chicken pieces. Prepare the noodles in the smaller saucepan, add them to the soup, and reheat. Continue to simmer slowly for 10 minutes to finish cooking the noodles and to let the flavors mingle. Serves four to six. Variation: Use matzo balls rather than egg noodles.