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Saturday, April 4, 2020

Quick Chicken Noodle Soup

I love to make really involved, complicated things sometimes. I enjoy experimenting and trying new recipes and techniques. But I don't want to do it all the time. Life is busy and a lot of the time, I just need to put healthy, wholesome food on the table. These days, it doesn't hurt if the ingredient list doesn't include a bunch of items I need to run to the store for, since I'm trying to go two weeks between shopping trips. 

This recipe uses canned chicken, but you could easily substitute cooked, shredded chicken. I like to use the canned stuff because I always have it on hand and on those evenings when I'm suddenly realizing that dinnertime is 30 minutes away and I haven't planned anything, let alone thawed anything out, I'm good to go. I always have onion, carrot, and celery in the fridge since they last so long.

My family comes from Pennsylvania Dutch country and chicken corn soup was a staple in my house growing up. This is a quick and easy nod to that childhood favorite. I use the thick, kluski noodles here, but you could really use any noodle you have on hand. And if the idea of corn is just too weird to you in a chicken soup, you can always leave it out, but I urge you to try it. Especially if you use really high quality sweet corn, there is nothing like that crunchy burst of sweetness to make this soup come alive. Did I mention it takes only 30 minutes or so to make?

The recipe starts with a standard mirepoix, which is a French word referring to the trinity of onion, celery, and carrot. I like to cut them up really small. For one, they cook more quickly that way, but it also means you get the chance for more flavors in each bite. If you like it really chunky, by all means, make them chunky!

Once you saute the mirepoix until they are a bit soft, the rest comes together very quickly. Add the broth, seasonings, noodles, corn, and chicken and cook until the noodles are tender. That's it! If you want to make it even more hearty, you can always stir in a whisked egg, stirring as you add it to make little wisps of eggy goodness in your soup. And, maybe I'm weird, as I've never heard anyone else eating it this way, but my favorite way to serve any chicken noodle soup is with shredded cheddar cheese. It's amazing!

Quick Chicken Noodle Soup
Yield: 4 servings

1/3 cup minced carrots
1/2 cup minced celery
1/2 cup minced onions
1 TBS oil
pinch salt

4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
1 cup kluski egg noodles
1/4 tsp ground sage
1/8 tsp ground thyme
1/8 tsp ground rosemary
1/8 tsp ground bay leaf
1 10oz (ish) can chicken breast meat (or 1 1/2 cup cooked chicken), chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 whisked egg, stirred in at the end, optional

Heat a large sauce pan or small stock pot over medium heat. Add the oil and vegetables and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until they are becoming soft and the onions are translucent. Reduce heat as necessary to keep them from browning. 

Add the remaining ingredients (except the egg, if using and the salt and pepper), and bring to a gentle boil. Cook until the noodles are tender and the carrots are pleasantly soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat. Stir in the whisked egg, if desired, stirring until the egg is distributed throughout the soup and is cooked through (the egg white will turn white). 

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