Sunday, January 10, 2010
Chicken Soup with Spaetzel
Several years ago, I decided that I really disliked canned soup...I couldn't eat it for lunch anymore...Homemade soup is where it is at! And I have a love for chicken soup of all varieties. Chicken Noodle and Chicken Soup with Spaetzel are two of my favorites and ones that I think that I've perfected. Tonight, Louie said that Chicken Soup with Spaetzel was delicious and it was his favorite! I think that is a winning endorsement.
A few notes on this soup: I have a Ziploc bag in my freezer that I keep uncooked chicken pieces and parts in to make soup with. I save the chicken backs that are in the packages of cut up chicken, I save the chicken wings and I know it sounds gross, but if there are big hunks of chicken fat when cutting up a whole chicken. Basically, anything but the chicken livers are used for chicken stock around here.
If you don't have the time or the desire to mess around with making stock from scratch, there are lots of chicken soup base products available. I typically use the Better than Bouillan Organic Chicken Soup Base (no MSG). It's perfect for a quick soup with lots of delicious chicken flavor.
Chicken Soup with Spaetzel6 servings
2 pounds of chicken parts
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
1 onion, cut into large chunks
2 ribs of celery, cut into large chunks
celery tops and greens
1 tsp of kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Put all of the above ingredients in a 6 qt dutch oven or stock pot and fill with water to cover. You'll end up adding about 4 qts of water. If you're using frozen chicken parts, like I do, they don't need to be thawed. Bring the pot to a boil, loosely cover so a little steam can escape and reduce head to simmer and let the pot simmer for 4 hours. If you need to add a little more water, go ahead.
During the winter, after 4 hours I turn off the heat and put the pot outside just until the fat at the top semi-hardens so it can skim off easier.
After skimming the fat, strain the soup into a large bowl, to remove all solids. Set aside.
To make the soup:
4 qts of chicken stock
1-2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
3 carrots, small chop
1 large onion, small chop
2 stalks of celery, small chop
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp sugar
Heat olive oil in the stock pot or dutch oven. Add the chicken pieces and saute just until it is no longer pink. Add the carrots, onion and celery. Saute until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and stir about 30 seconds.
Add the chicken stock and stir. Bring to a boil. Stir in 1 tbsp sugar. Salt and pepper to taste. At this point, if the broth doesn't have a rich chicken flavor, I'll add a spoonful of "Better than Bouillon" Chicken Soup Base. This just intensifies the chicken flavor, but be careful of adding too much salt.
Let simmer for 30 minutes.
To make the spaetzel:
1 1/4 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 egg beaten
Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. In a measuring cup, mix the egg, milk and water. Gradually add to the flour mixture, mixing well.
Add the batter by 1/2 tsp to the boiling soup. After all the batter is added to the soup, reduce heat to medium and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, covered.
Serve with a yummy crusty bread.