Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Getting My Soup On!

 You guys already know I've been itching to try my hand at some homemade soup.  I'm so thankful for the comments you all left on my last soup-themed post.  They helped me realize this is not rocket science; it's soup making.  So, I did a little internet poking & along with the hints you gave me I spent a very productive afternoon in the kitchen yesterday.
Small confession: part of the reason I was really wanting to make some soup is that Mike got me a super nice stock pot & I was dying to use it!  He is so funny; he is such a good gift giver.  I mentioned to him after Christmas that I would like a stock pot & I didn't even have a super concrete reason for wanting it.  I think I said something like, 'you know, I could make soup or something.'  Maybe a week later a box got delivered in the mail & what did I find inside but a lovely stock pot.  I guess he likes to eat so he's going to do whatever he can to keep me cooking!
We had invited our friend Autumn over for dinner last night.  She purchased an antique wardrobe almost two years ago and Mike was supposed to help her rework part of it.  I figured the wardrobe work called for a hearty dinner beforehand & I quickly decided that it would be the perfect night to roll out a pot of hot homemade chicken noodle soup!  Autumn is a champ; she didn't mind being a guinea pig in the least.

When I got home from work I pulled out my package of chicken necks & backs (from Joyce's farm!), some carrots, celery, a big white onion, a whole head of garlic (can you ever have too much?!), thyme, rosemary, sage, & black peppercorns.  I also threw in several chicken breasts.  We (aka Mike) are a bit picky & won't eat dark meat or meat off of the bones.  I was going to need the chicken breasts for the soup so I just threw them in here to cook.  I covered it all up with water, threw the lid on, & let it simmer for just over an hour.

While the pot was simmering away I took that hour to make some noodles.  If you have never tried to make homemade noodles before, you must try it as soon as possible!  It's so easy.  And they are so.good.  My G-ma taught me to make noodles when I was like 12 years old, so believe me, you can totally learn how to do it!  This was my first experience making them with white hard wheat whole wheat flour.  They were a little different but we liked them.  
I also took that time to whip out my other super gifts from Mike (this was kinda sorta part of my Christmas).  I really wanted a glass bowl for my KitchenAid.  I really wanted to be able to stick the bowl in the microwave to soften butter, etc.  Also, I thought it would be really handy to have an extra bowl for the mixer on busy baking/cooking days.  Mike also got me this paddle attachment that has a spatula-like scraper on one side.  It's super handy!  And they both worked like a champ to help me whip up a batch of granola bars.
 And then we sat down to eat a bowl of soup.  I was a little nervous.  Truthfully, I'm not a huge chicken noodle soup fan (it has something to do with being sick in college & being fed chicken noodle soup daily for days on end).  And Autumn had confessed that she didn't love it much either but most of her experience had been with canned chicken noodle soup.  At least it looked pretty in the bowl!  And Autumn had brought fabulous yeast rolls so we knew we wouldn't go completely hungry.
And I'm thankful to report that it was a success!  Mike really liked it & Autumn & I were surprised by how much we liked it, too.  I even ate some of the leftovers for lunch today; I think it was even yummier than last night.  And I have three packages of leftover stock in the freezer just waiting for an opportunity to be used.  Definitely cooking time well spent!

Thanks again for all of your tips & encouragement.  Now I'm doing a little thinking about a beef vegetable soup...any thoughts? :-)


Rebecca said...

I use a chuck roast and cut it into bite sized pieces. Throw in your most dense veggies first, e.g. potatoes, carrots. Then about 25 minutes later add your veggies that need less cooking time, e.g. corn, green beans, tomatoes. (My MIL uses cabbage in her veg beef soup). The last 20 minutes, I throw in a handful of rice to cook. This is a cheap substitute for barley. Be sure to use plenty of salt. Beef just needs some salt. I use canned stewed tomatoes and chop them up some before putting them in. I also freeze the leftover broth when I cook a roast. This dark broth makes a good base for a veg beef soup.

Mary Ann said...

Rebecca, thanks for the tips! You actually said a lot of what I was thinking :-) Wish you could come over & eat a bowl with me!

Rebecca said...

We were by there on Dec 31 as we drove on I-70 to get home. But alas, it was like 1 a.m. I don't think you were up for a bowl of soup! LOL! ;)