Chicken Noodle Soup – Walt’s Simple Kindness

It my daughter’s fault I made this.  She gave me “that look” that even grown kids manage when they don’t feel well. You know the look; the one that totally melts your heart and you become energized with all sorts of thoughts of how to make them comfortable.  A mother’s a mother forever.

My Father-in-Law shared this recipe with me. He was a man of solid principle.  Every thing he did was thought out and had kindness and integrity at it’s root.  He loved the Lord, his wife, his family and all those who crossed his path …except politicians. Oh what the heck, had a politician crossed his path they would have gone away with a little more joy and peace in their soul and certainly not hungry!

Every once in awhile he would take over the kitchen.  He so mastered the art of baking cookies and making candy to bestow upon the  unsuspecting  that I did not remember he knew how to  cook anything else.  He made a mean pot of hot sausage smothered in sauce for tailgating so that everyone could encourage  the beloved Pittsburgh Steelers with more vigor and onion on the breath – and a mean pot of chicken soup.

“Dutch” is what he called my mother in law for no apparent reason.  He was Spike, she was Dutch and they had some serious love and contentment between them that made room for immense generosity towards others.

In order to make this a gluten free recipe I had to make a few changes.  Instead of canned broth I build a chicken stock from scratch.  Also, I like big pieces of carrot instead of chopping it like he did, so petite carrots left whole are in my recipe.  Of course the search for a gluten free noodle was a challenge, but when I came across some I just had to make this soup.

Here goes!!!

You need:

Chicken: one whole chicken, cut up

Water

Bouillon: 2 gluten free cubes (not required unless you want to eat this as soon as you make it)

Carrots: 1 lb petite carrots

Onion: 3 small onions, 2 of them chopped and one peeled and studded with

Whole Cloves: between 5 and 10 driven into the raw onion, like this

Celery:  1 whole bunch cleaned, brown tips removed and chopped

Noodles: gluten free. (I used Sam Mills Pasta d’oro Lasagne corte-like mini lasagna’s)  By the way, these are holding up beautifully in the soup instead of disintegrating like so many others

Salt, thyme, 1 bay leaf, several peppercorns

1 teaspoon sugar

1 Tablespoon butter

*for some reason no salt was needed.  I don’t know why except maybe the noodles had enough in them from the salted water they were cooked in.

Method:

In a large soup pot ( 7 quart cast iron dutch oven is perfect) melt the butter

Add the vegetables and herbs and peppercorns, cooking over medium high heat for a few minutes to brown  the vegetables a little bit

Place chicken pieces on top of sauteed vegetables

Cover with water, enough to nearly fill the pot

Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for half an hour.  At this point I like to taste the broth and enhance it with gluten free bouillon cubes and sugar if it’s needed

Continue to cook for another half an hour or until the chicken is cooked completely through and the vegetables are tender.  Then remove chicken and lower heat to very low and cook, allowing the flavors to blend more while chicken cools. In my family this is where my daughters get all squeemish about having to take the chicken off the bones.  But hey, that’s life!  Take the skin off the chicken, then remove the meat and put the meat back into the pot.  At this point you should also remove the whole onion that has the cloves in it.  Let that cool too and then, a trick someone taught me, squeeze all the juice out of the onion back into the soup and discard the remaining …onion and cloves..this add tons of flavor to the broth.

At this point you can place a pot of water, adding a Tablespoon of salt, over heat, bring to a boil and add noodles.  Cook until al dente (to the tooth), drain and add into the soup.

At this point I like to chill the soup overnight.  This does two things.  First, it allows the fats to come to the surface and is easier to skim off.  Second, oh my gosh how the flavors improve by giving it at least 8 hours!

Here you go!

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