One £10 Chicken Three Meals – Part Three
Chicken Noodle Soup
There is something rather magical about chicken noodle soup, a feeling that’s it’s all going to be just fine. Did your mum give you chicken noodle soup when you were ill? Both our parents did and when I cooked this broth we had a lengthy discussion reminiscing about what we had when we were children. I like these chats as they bring back happy memories from the past, not that being ill was anything to be happy about.
This recipe is my last and final dish using my 2kg £10 free range chicken. It has been a great journey and I enjoyed it so much that I think I shall set myself more tasks like this one for the future.
The outcome was as follows: With one 2kg £10 chicken I made three recipes serving 8 plates of food and each portion of chicken cost £1.25, now that is what I call great food value and the dustbin only got the bare boiled bones. I feel pretty good about this as I bought free range and not battery farmed chicken so all in all it was a happy chicken, happy purse and a very happy belly!
It’s so easy to throw food away, so when I noticed my food bill was creeping up, I became more careful in what I buy so I can minimise waste. A further consideration for us on waste is that our garden is too small for a compost bin so we are limited on what we throw away as we only have a wormery. The freezer is a bit full but that means that we simply buy less food and we have to “eat the freezer”. It’s a fantastic experience as once or twice we made the most bizarre dinners but most of the time we are actually making brilliant and innovative dishes that are not only tasty but fun at the same time.
We have also challenged ourselves to eat less meat as a result of reminiscing about how good certain foods and dishes taste that are not eaten everyday. We want to look forward to that Sunday roast with all the trimmings, it’s so easy to have a roast dinner any evening of the week, but the problem is that we do not appreciate it as much as we used to. I suppose it’s different for every family, we both got so used to these kind of things that we stopped appreciating them and stopped looking forward to real family events.
I cannot remember when I last made chicken noodle soup, so I had to think a bit harder than usual and basically just went with the flow. As a chef it’s so easy to go overboard and as I call it “go off with the fairies”. I did not want to make a consommé as such but when my broth came out very clear and tasty at the same time I was very pleased. I would happily serve and eat this dish in a restaurant or gastro pub, it’s hearty and soothing at the same time. For me it’s that perfect autumn dish.
I have used all the bones from my £10 chicken, even the carcase from the crown that I cooked for our Sunday roast. The inner fillets, which I kept due to the breast being very big, was poached and then flaked and served alongside my noodles and mushrooms. I roasted the chicken bones in a hot oven and sauteed a mirepoix of carrots, leek, celery and onion with bay leaf, coriander seeds, thyme and garlic to make this wonderful broth. The secret is that you should not boil the broth or stock too fast, just a gentle simmer and the darker you roast the bones and vegetables the darker and more flavoursome your broth will be. The broth simmered for 1 and half hours minding it’s own business while I was doing the ironing.
If you want to serve this soup as a clear consommé you can easily clarify the stock without a lot of drama, all you need to do is whisk up one seasoned egg white and pour it into to the cold passed broth. Bring the cold broth slowly to the simmer, stir regularly as you do not want the egg to get stuck at the bottom of the pan, simmer until the egg is cooked and floating on top. I warn you now this looks revolting but once you have passed the consommé through a muslin cloth or jelly bag your soup will be clear and absolutely delicious. Discard the egg and serve the clear consommé with cooked noodles, flaked chicken and sauteed mushrooms. Hope you are up for a challenge!
Roasted Chicken Broth
- All the chicken bones including the undercarriage, breast bone, wing tips and bones from the legs
- 2tbs sunflower oil
- 1 carrot, not peeled cut in large dice
- 1/2 leek, cut the same size than the carrot
- 2 sticks of celery, cut the same size than the carrot
- 1 onion, peeled and cut the same size than the carrot
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1.5L water
- Pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 bay leafs
- 1 large sprig of thyme
- 4 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 200g fresh Udon noodles, or noodles of your choice
- 4 spears of purple sprouting broccoli, cut in half length ways
- two chicken inner fillets reserved from the roast, cooked and flaked
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Place the bones on a lined baking tray and roast them in the preheated oven for 35 - 40 minutes, until they are golden to dark brown.
Heat a large saucepan with 1 tablespoon of the sunflower oil and saute the carrots, onions, celery, leek and garlic until golden brown with the seasoning, add the bay leaf, thyme and coriander seeds towards the end.
Add the golden roasted bones, break them up into smaller pieces so that they all fit into the pan and then pour the water over the bones.
Bring the broth to the simmer and remove any oil and impurities that surface with a ladle. Simmer the broth for at least one and a half hour, do not boil it too fast as the liquid will simply evaporate alongside all the goodness.
Let the broth cool naturally while it absorbs the flavour from the bones.
Pass the chilled broth through a fine sieve or a jelly bag which works brilliantly too. Discard the bones and return the broth to a clean saucepan.
If you want to clarify the broth at this stage then whisk one egg white with seasoning and stir it into the cooled broth, return to the heat and bring the broth to a gentle simmer while stirring, do not let the egg catch at the bottom.
Simmer for about 8 - 10 minutes or until the egg is completely solidified and floating on the surface. Pass the broth for the second time through a jelly bag and your consommé is ready to be served. It's really not that difficult and perhaps will add an extra 15 minutes to the task.
Heat a non-stick frying pan with the remaining oil and saute the sliced shiitake mushrooms until golden with seasoning.
Bring a medium saucepan with seasoned water to the boil and cook the noodles and broccoli, drain and mix with the cooked chicken and sauteed mushrooms.
Bring the soup to the boil and add the garnish and serve.
Serves 2 main meal portions or 4 starter portions