I have a terrible cold right now, which means I will be a terrible person for at least three more days. I’ve also given it to Brian because I’m just generous like that – and who wants to wallow in feverish self-pity alone?
Of course all I want to eat is chicken noodle soup, because it’s the only thing that will make me feel better (It’s science.) And none of that salt-bomb canned stuff with soggy noodles. I want homemade chicken noodle soup.
Well, you can see the conundrum.
So I made a big pot of this soup to last us a few days. It tastes way better than canned – but doesn’t expect miracles from a cook who can barely get out of bed. I’m filled with rage when I see ingredients like “finely chopped parsley” in a chicken soup recipe (It’s 5 p.m., and I just managed to shower. You seriously expect me to have parsley right now?).
Adjust the following “recipe” (if you can call it that) to your circumstances. Send the healthiest person in your house to the grocery store to pick up a rotisserie chicken and all of the NyQuil. Skip all the vegetables if you don’t have any, or throw in a bag of frozen veggies right before the noodles are done. Whatever it takes to get this soup in your belly.
- Vegetable or olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 carrots, cut into chunks
- 2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
- 1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled off and shredded into pieces
- 8 cups (2 quarts/ almost 2 liters) chicken broth
- Dry pasta (I used 1 cup corkscrew noodles)
- Salt and pepper
- Dried oregano, crushed red pepper and/or poultry seasoning (optional)
- In a large pot, cook the onion in oil for a few minutes until it starts to soften. Add the carrots and celery; cook for another 5 minutes, until they are slightly more tender. Add garlic and cook for a minute.
- Add chicken broth; simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to get tender. Season with salt and pepper (and other herbs and spices, if using).
- Add noodles and chicken pieces, and cook till noodles are al dente.
All I want, all winter long, is a big bowl of body-warming, soul-soothing soup. And usually I want it instantly, with next-to-zero work on my part. Ramen is the magical concoction that satisfies both of these desires.
I make it a little differently every time, depending on what veggies and toppings we have in the house. It is delicious in its simplest form – broth and noodles – but I love it even more when we have greens, mushrooms, sprouts, soft-boiled eggs and other fixins to add for flavor and texture.
Feeling a little chilly and also a little lazy? Go fix yourself a steaming bowl of broth, noodles and veggies. You deserve it.
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-inch piece of ginger, minced
- 3 T. white miso paste
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- Soy sauce to taste
- Sriracha or other hot sauce to taste
- 1 T. mirin, white wine or vermouth (optional)
- 1 tsp. 5-star spice (optional)
- About 8 oz / 227 g dried ramen noodles
- Dried shitake mushrooms
- 1 bunch Swiss chard or spinach
- Bean sprouts
- Green onions, diced
- Cilantro, chopped
- Sesame oil
- Sesame seeds
- 4 soft-boiled eggs
- Soak mushrooms in warm water until they soften (20-30 minutes); rinse and drain. Slice mushrooms.
- Heat sesame oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook garlic and ginger for 2 minutes, then add miso and cook for another minute. Add broth, a splash of soy sauce and Sriracha, 5-star spice (optional) and mirin (optional).
- Stir in mushrooms. Bring the broth to a simmer and season to taste.
- While broth is heating, boil water in a separate pot and cook noodles until al dente. Drain and rinse with warm water; set aside.
- Add greens to the broth and cook for a few minutes until wilted.
- Put a serving of noodles in each bowl, ladle soup over the top, and garnish with toppings.
It’s the time of year where I’m simultaneously mourning the last days of summer and antsy to move on to the crisp fall weather. Barcelona has been skipping back and forth between seasons – sunny and balmy one day, cool and stormy the next.
During one of the fierce thunderstorms this week, I put the potatoes in our CSA basket to good use and made a simple, creamy potato-leek soup that hit the spot. Cozy up with a bowl – you won’t regret it.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 leeks (white and light green parts only), roughly chopped
- 5 small potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream or half and half
- Olive oil
- Salt, pepper, dried thyme and other spices
- Handful of cubed pancetta (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 baguette, cut into medium chunks
- Melt butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add leeks and potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes, until softened slightly.
- Add broth and simmer for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are very tender. Add cream and heat through.
- At the same time, cook pancetta in a small pan with olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and bread crumbs until crispy, about 8-10 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender (or work in batches in a regular blender) to puree until it is still lightly chunky, not totally smooth.
- Season with salt, pepper, thyme and any other spices you like.
- Serve topped with pancetta-crouton mix, with extra sliced bread on the side.