Blog - Labor of Love
A Labor of Love

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup - The Checklist

This list may seem easy enough, but by the time you complete each and every step, you will know how much you love those you are creating this soup for – even if it’s yourself! ♫

This is a process, so make sure you have time carved out to complete it. The * items on the checklist indicate a recipe will be provided. ♫ indicates a note from me. Turkey may be substituted for the chicken.

Preparation

  1. *Make vegetable broth (2.5 hours)
  2. *Brine the fowl (24-72 hours)
    • I do not always take the time to smoke the fowl – if you are short on time, skip items 3 and 4 – go to item 5 under Soup ♫
  3. Smoke the fowl (2-4 hours depending on size)
    • I have a Traeger and use apple or hickory pellets. Eat what you want to for a meal but be sure to save some meat and all the bones to continue labor of love! ♫
  4. Debone the fowl (take meat off bones)

Soup

  1. Put all the fowl bones in a pot, add gallon of water, spices, other flavoring, boil for 3 to 4 hours
  2. *Make noodles (20 minutes) or use the frozen spaghetti egg noodles from the freezer section in the store
    • I like spaghetti better than the traditional flat frozen noodles ♫
  3. Remove bones from broth by draining through colander
  4. Add desired vegetables – celery, onion, carrot, garlic
  5. Add fowl meat
  6. Add spices
    • I use the same as in the brine – rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic ♫
  7. Add vegetable broth (from above)
  8. When vegetables are almost done, add noodles
  9. Set the table and serve

      Leftovers are great for lunches and can be frozen in containers easy to heat up later

Blog - Labor of Love

Vegetable Broth (Item #1)

When I cut up fresh vegetables, I put the ends and remnants into a gallon Ziploc bag in the freezer. Vegetables I use (ends, peels, skins, seeds, salad leftovers, etc.) – carrots, onions, garlic, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, beet greens, beets, chard, chives, green pepper, celery, zucchini, jalapenos, other peppers, leeks, potatoes… you get the idea! This becomes the mix for the broth.

 

When the bag is full, it is ready to make into broth. On a cold day, or when I need broth, I pull out a bag and dump it in a deep pot. Then I add a gallon or two of water or apple juice, spices (depending on what the broth will be used for), and let it boil for an hour or two. Since this is for chicken noodle soup, I use the same spices that are called for in the brine – rosemary, sage, thyme, and then add garlic, salt, and pepper. I add crushed red pepper flakes, sometimes, to help fight colds. Don’t add the red pepper flakes if you have any hot peppers in your broth mix… the seeds will add enough heat! 

Blog - Labor of Love

When the vegetables are all soft, strain them out of the broth and throw them on your compost pile. Let the broth cool and dump into gallon Ziploc bags and store in the freezer. Save a gallon for the brine. You don’t have to let it cool if you are going to make the brine immediately. ♫
This method does not guarantee that you will have the same flavored broth each time. The bonus is that it is all fresh (when it was frozen) and you control what get put in. If you want to be able to make the same flavor of broth each time, separate the vegetables into their own quart-size Ziploc and then put them into a gallon size bag – be sure to label so you know it’s broth mix. Measure how much of each vegetable you add in and write it down… now you have your own recipe for broth you like.

Blog - Labor of Love
Blog - Labor of Love

Brine (Item #2)

This recipe is from allrecipes.com by Sheri Gailey and is enough for up to an 18-pound fowl.

♫ – I add the fowl when it is still frozen so that it will slowly thaw and stay cool. Frozen fowl will take longer to soak in the brine, hence the longer time referenced in the checklist. Brining breaks down the protein in the meat and allows the brine to soak in… juicy, tender meat here we come!

Ingredients:

1 gallon vegetable broth

1 cup sea salt (I use kosher salt)

1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary

1 tablespoon dried sage

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 gallon ice water or apple juice (with ice)

 

Instructions:

  • In a large stock pot, combine the vegetable broth, sea salt, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

  • When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5-gallon bucket. Stir in the ice water.

  • Wash and dry your turkey. Make sure you have removed the innards. Place the turkey, breast down, into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight.

  • Remove the turkey carefully draining off the excess brine and pat dry. Discard excess brine.

  • Cook the turkey as desired reserving the drippings for gravy. Keep in mind that brined turkeys cook 20 to 30 minutes faster so watch the temperature gauge.

♫ – I put the fowl into the bucket before I add in the brine and ice cubes (the bigger the cubes, the better!) – it’s easier to not let the fowl slip and cannonball into the brine, creating a huge mess. The 5-gallon buckets with the spin-tops are great to use for the brine soak. If using a chicken, a 3-gallon bucket will be big enough.

♫ – When thawing your fowl while it brines or have limited fridge space and can’t jam in a 3-gallon bucket, let alone a 5-gallon bucket, wrap your bucket in blankets and keep in the coldest room in your house. You can even put it in a clean cooler. (If it’s got a spicket, it will be easier to drain the brine out later.) Check the fowl at least twice a day to make sure there is still ice – add more ice, as needed – you want to keep it cold!

Blog - Labor of Love

Easy Egg Noodles (Item #6)

By Holly Nilsson      Makes 4 servings

Easy Egg Noodles are not only tasty, but they have a texture that is both delicate and tender, making them the perfect side dish for your favorite recipes.

 

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

⅛ teaspoon salt or to taste

2 eggs

⅓ cup milk

1 tablespoon butter softened

¼ cup flour for dusting

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, stir flour together with salt. Set aside.

  2. Whisk together eggs in a small bowl. Add eggs, milk, and butter to flour mixture. Stir with a fork at first and then mix well with your hands.

  3. Knead dough on a floured surface adding more flour a little bit at a time if it’s sticky. Continue kneading about 5 minutes or until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and rest for 20 minutes.

    ♫ Kneading activates the gluten in the flour and resting allows gluten to change into protein chains, which is the structure of the noodle.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to ¼ or ⅛ inch thickness. Cut into strips and dust with flour.

    ♫ I didn’t have to flour the surface or sprinkle more flour on the noodles – I think this is what makes noodles tough… the less flour you add to the dough, the more tender they are!
  5. To prepare, add noodles to a large pot of boiling, salted water and cook about 3 minutes. Serve with butter or your favorite pasta sauce.

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