Secret Ingredient Chicken Noodle Soup
Fall. Okay, technically fall, but who are we kidding? It is winter. The point is, the air is crisp making it the perfect temperature for harvesting parsnips. Parsnips are shaped like a carrot and can grow up to 12" in length and about 3 inches wide at the top. Parsnips have smooth ivory skin with a sweet, nutty flavour. They develop this sweet flavour after a hard frost, making them a great vegetable for shorter growing seasons. Once cooked, they can be pureed into a smooth, sweet comforting dish that while rich in natural sugars, is also about 13% fibre and plentiful in minerals, antioxidants and comfort!
Here's the secret.
Have you ever made homemade chicken noodle soup? Does it taste like it is missing a little something? You guessed it, parsnips (and turmeric actually, two secrets!)!
What you want to do is come down to Amaranth, or your local farmers market, and pick up some fresh parsnips - a big bag. One night when you are using your oven, throw in a roasting pan filled with 1 inch sections of peeled parsnips and a touch of salt and a half cup of water in the bottom of the pan. Make sure the pieces are all about the same size so they cook at the same rate. Cover. Roast until you can easily pierce a piece with a fork, about 45 minutes at 350F. Once cooled, toss them into a freezer bag and right into the freezer. You are now set to make this soup (and other tasty items) whenever it suits you. Parsnips are only available until about April, so make sure you have some in your freezer before they are gone.
To begin making your soup, get these ingredients all ready to go:
-4 cups Chicken broth (homemade is best - when you have a whole chicken, toss your bones in a pot covered with water and add about 4+ tsp of pink Himalayan sea salt. Let it simmer for a day or two. Strain. Cool. Freeze in 2 cup servings. If you don't have some handy, already prepared broth will work. You could have a roasted chicken dinner the week you want to make this soup and make broth and save the leftover chicken for in the soup.
-1/2 cup roasted parsnips
-1 TBSP butter, divided
-1/2 cup onion (finely chopped), divided
-1/2 cup celery (if there are leaves on your celery, use them!), divided
-2 small cloves of garlic, crushed and finely diced
-small sprig of rosemary and thyme (if using dried, use about 1 tsp of each)
-1/2 tsp turmeric (for color, taste and anti-inflammatory deliciousness)
-1/2 cup carrots (finely chopped)
-1/2 cup finely diced red pepper (optional but pretty!)
-pink Himalayan sea salt, cracked peppercorns to taste
-about 1 1/2 cups of cooked chicken - can be leftover, white or dark meat
-Noodles, This recipe uses King Soba's gluten free Millet & Brown Rice Noodles. They have the texture of egg noodles. You can use any shape of noodle or substitute rice or extra vegetables and just omit the noodles. You da boss.
-2 TBSP fresh parsley (optional)
This is easier than you think and once everything is chopped and waiting, it comes together very quickly! You can do this.
FOR THE SECRET INGREDIENT BROTH:
Put your soup pot on the burner on med-high. Heat half of your butter and add half of the onions and celery, all of the garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for about 1 minute.
Add the parsnips and saute for another minute.
Add half of the broth and bring just to the start of a boil.
Pour the contents into your blender. You can use an immersion blender if you'd like but the smooth consistency from a blender is nice. Have a look at the size of your blender. Don't overfill as when you blend, the hot liquid can explode out of the top. Careful! Once blended, leave the broth in the blender for now.
FOR THE NOODLES:
Use a new pot and boil water for the pasta noodles. While waiting for the water to boil, move on.
FOR THE FILLINGS:
Heat the rest of the butter in the pot and add the rest of your onions and celery, carrots, rosemary and thyme sprigs, red pepper if using and that tasty turmeric. Saute for about 2 mins.
Add the contents of the blender and the rest of the chicken broth as well as the chicken. Bring almost to a boil, turn your burner down to a simmer and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. If you like a thinner soup, you can add a bit of water.
FINISHING THE NOODLES:
In the meantime, your noodle water should be boiling. Add a 1/2 tsp salt to the boiling water and cook your noodles as per the package instructions. If they are the King Soba noodles, or if they are any kind of gluten free noodle, cook them as per the package directions EXCEPT only cook them for a little more than half as long as the package says. The noodles will continue to cook in your hot soup and no one wants mushy noodles. When the noodles are done, rinse them well with warm water to wash off all of the starchiness. Now you have a choice. You can add them into the soup if you are going to eat RIGHT AWAY and if you plan to eat the whole pot. If you are not rushing to the table or if you plan to save leftovers, here is what you can do: Divide the noodles amongst the soup bowls and when you are ready, ladle the soup over top of the noodles and serve so that your leftovers will not have noodles soaking in them all night.
Tip: If you plan to take soup in a thermos the next day, save some of the noodles and pack them separately. When you open your thermos, add your noodles, stir and allow them to sit for about 2-3 minutes. Delicious lunch! Kids can do this too. Tested. Check.
Okay, you have made a noodle decision, now your soup is almost ready to eat. Take out the sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Taste. Season with salt and pepper until it is tasting just how you like it. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Enjoy!
Remember that recipes are meant to provide inspiration and a bit of direction. Take this and run with it. It is your soup.
You can also make parsnip chips, a puree to soak up the liquids on your plate, or add to baking for moistness and turmeric can be added to almost anything to add an anti-inflammatory boost. Have fun!
Post and recipe by Amy Buckman @ Amaranth