Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thick Chicken Noodle Soup

It's been wet around here... very wet. Nothing like biking to class in the steady rain to make you want soup. I like my soups thick.. very very thick. This was wonderful, with big fettuccine noodles, fresh parsley and big chunks of chicken.

Lately, I've been bartering: Soup for homework help. So far it's worked out well.

Makes about 5 to 6 cups of thick soup.
35 minutes
-large large soup pot

3 heaping Tbsp Earth Balance butter
1/3 c Bob's Red Mill all-purpose flour (sorghum?)
3 (15 oz) cans Swanson natural goodness chicken broth
1 can water (fill up empty chicken broth can)
1 (or two) large chicken breast
2 thick carrots, peeled
1 large white onion
handful of fresh parsley
fistful (about 1/3 to 1/2 of a package) of Tinkyada fettuccine noodles, broken in half
1/2 c. frozen peas
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. celery flakes
sea salt to taste

1. Melt butter in the wok over low heat. Once butter is fully melted, add in the flour, one tablespoon at a time. Stir well to mix, breaking up any flour clumps. Mixture should be thick and sticky, like a paste.
2. Continue to heat the butter/flour roux, stirring frequently. Add in a little more butter if necessary to aid stirring. When flour in the roux just starts to tan/brown (around the 5 minute mark), add in the chicken broth + 1 additional can of water. Mix well. Don't be discouraged if lumps occur at this point; they should break up later upon boiling (the end product is silky smooth).
3. Rinse off the boneless/skinless chicken breast(s). Tear into bite-sized chunks and add to the broth/roux. Turn heat up to medium high. Cover and let simmer softly while you chop up veggies.
4. Wash and peel the carrots. Slice into thin-ish circles. Half the larger circles if they get too big in diameter. Peel and chop up the onion; pieces don't have to be super small. Wash and dice the fresh parsley.
By now the soup should have boiled for around 10 minutes, cooking the chicken pieces.
5. Add in the chopped carrot, onion and parsley to the boiling soup. Take a handful of Tinkyada flat fettuchini pasta and break in half lengthwise. Add pasta to the soup pot (it will be awkard). Cover and let simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. **Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot during stirring. The soup will become very thick and might stick to the bottom and burn if left totally unattended. Add in more water to alleviate this problem.**
6. Once the pasta becomes tender, wash off the frozen peas and add them to the pot. Season soup generously with garlic powder, black pepper, oregano and celery flakes. Turn heat down to medium. Stir to mix. Add in extra water as necessary.
7. Simmer gently for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until veggies are tender (but not shapeless) and pasta and chicken are fully cooked. Soup should no longer have any large clumps, but it will be quite viscous, coating spoons and pouring slowly.
Serve warm with favorite gluten free bread.

Pan-Roasted Baby Red Potatoes

Tender spuds, covered in garlic butter, pan-roasted with pearl onions.
I've always wanted to make these. Over winter break, I found time to experiment. I really liked the garlic-infused butter, but you can tune down both (garlic or butter) if you see fit.

Serves 3 (as a side dish)
40 minutes
-large saucepan
Quick and simple

10 to 15 small baby red (boiler) potatoes ; no bigger than 2 inches in diameter
10 to 15 small white pearl onions
1 whole garlic (more than 8 cloves, at least)
4 Tbsp. butter or non-dairy alternative (I used Buttery Sticks)
5 green onions
sea salt and pepper

1. Half each baby red potato; don't bother peeling them. If still too big, quarter each potato. Place in bowl of cold water to sit while peeling the onions.
2. Carefully cut the ends off of the pearl onions. Remove the outer cover by slicing into the side. However, keep the onions whole-- don't half them (they'll fall apart).
3. Remove the spuds from the water-bath and place in large saucepan. Add in the peeled pearl onions. Pour in enough water such that the potatoes and onions are halfway covered (not too much).
4. Start the pan boiling over high heat. You want the potatoes and onions to boil rapidly for at least 10 minutes. Turn to the garlic and green onions while waiting.
5. Peel entire garlic, removing the hard bottom parts from each clove (this, like the onions, takes awhile). Coarsely dice. Keep watch on the potatoes.
6. Once the potatoes are pierced easily with a knife, carefully pour out most of the extra water; leave about a tablespoon of water in the bottom of the pan. Add in handful the diced garlic. Stir.
7. Place saucepan back on the hot range. Boil off the rest of the water-- should take less than 3 minutes. When the water has completely boiled away, turn the heat down to medium-high and add in the butter. Stir to melt and coat.
8. Let the potatoes, garlic, and onions saute in the butter for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the potatoes to brown a little.
9. Coarsely cut up the green leaves of the green onion. Add to the saucepan. Mix well.
10. Saute for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until the potatoes and white onions are tender, but before they get too mushy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve generously with ham.