Thursday, October 22, 2009

It Needs a New Name: Homemade Chicken and Rice Noodle Soup!

If you could have your dream job, what would it be? No limits here, let’s just assume that you have every quality and skill bestowed upon man. What job would you pick? Would you go for a high profile job? A behind the scenes job? Would you be an action hero? An artist? A rock star? A painter? A writer? An Accountant? An Olympic Athlete? A hair stylist? A cabinet maker? A farmer? A rancher? A park ranger? Adog trainer? A scientist? An archeologist? A musician? An actress? A preacher? A teacher? A ... A ... ???

Did you answer right away? Or are you leaning your head to the side, index finger tap tapping your chin, emanating lots of “hmms” as you mentally scroll through the possibilities? I always thought it would be fun to be in the travel industry, tooling around the world ranking hotels, restaurants, cruises, beaches, etc. Then again, I’ve also often wondered who names things? That’s a cool gig. For example, who picks the moniker for the latest and greatest crayon color? And what brainy person picked the illustrious name, H1N1, for the latest flu bug? Did the first guy who called it swine flu get dismissed? Was there a flu naming show down? Will there be a film at 11 about this?

With two girls in school, I’m being inundated with flu prevention notices from school. That nasty H1N1 is getting closer and closer to home and I’m sure it’s just a matter of minutes before some poor student at our school gets it and shares the love with the entire student body. The school has upped it’s prevention tactics by installing hand sanitizer dispensers about every 2 feet, and parents have been advised to keep their kids home if they show anything other than perfect health. My homeschooled son, who you’d think would be at lesser risk than my girls, has actually been exposed to the virus because 2 boys on his soccer team have confirmed cases of it, plus 1 boy who is sick but hasn’t gone to the doctor as of yet. A sibling of a gal in my youngest’s class has a confirmed case, too. The phrase “you can run, but you can’t hide” comes to mind. My older daughter’s class had 6 kids absent today, and my youngest one’s class had 5 out. G.R.E.A.T.

My wee one was one of the five absent. Said sickie woke up at 6:45 am this morning complaining of a sore throat, aches and pains, and extreme fatigue. So, back to sleep she went, and she stayed asleep until 12:04 pm. So, what’s a mama bear to do? Well, feed her the age old cure all ... homemade chicken soup.What makes today’s soup post-worthy is that it’s made with rice noodles. While I LOVE homemade noodles, especially the thick ones, I’ve found that these rice babies are actually easier to digest particularly when dealing with upset tummies and overall malaise. While I like chicken and rice soup, there’s something special about eating noodles. This is a very easy soup to prepare, especially because it involves just 3 steps: Step one: Making the liquid part of the soup; Step two: Deboning the cooked chicken; and Step three: Making and adding the rice noodles. It’s really easy.

I implore you to give this a try. It’s good for the soul. It’s good for the tummy. It’s good for the taste buds. It’s ... well, it’s good! Now I just need to come up with a good name for it. Something really witty. Any suggestions?


2 generous tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken thighs
½ large onion, chopped medium dice
2 large carrots, sliced medium thin
1 ½ quarts chicken stock
1 quart water
2 teaspoons chicken base (I used Better than Bouillon brand, organic)
1 garlic clove, sliced super-d-duper thin
1 tablespoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dill
½ teaspoon celery salt (I was out of celery so I tried this ... yum!)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 package Asian rice noodles, vermicelli style

In a large stock pot, turn the heat to medium high. When the pan just starts to get hot, add the oil, onion and carrots. Remember, hot pan – cold oil – food won’t stick. Let those veggies start to wilt just a bit, about 2 minutes, then add the chicken, skin side down. Try to make four wells in the veggies so that the chicken skin comes in contact with the bottom of the pan. Let those sit for a minute or two. Then add the broth, water, chicken base, garlic, parlsey, dill, celery salt, and ginger. Stir and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover tightly, and simmer for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Remove the four pieces of chicken to a bowl and let cool slightly. Start to make the noodles according to package directions.

Let’s talk about those noodles for a second. This is the one that I use. You can find rice noodles in the Asian section of your grocery store.That they are gluten free is an added bonus.See what they look like? White in color, but sort of translucent, too. They are very brittle in this dried form, and near impossible to pull apart.Once they hit the hot water, though, it’s barely 8 minutes until they are ready to eat. Do NOT overcook these babies.Since the noodles are super long, I just take my shears and cut them up right in the water. Easy peasy. I do recommend draining and rinsing these babies, as the water is starchy. Be sure to use a mesh strainer because these noodles are so thin that they will slide right through a traditional strainer.

While the noodles are getting ready, debone and de-skin (is that a word?) the chix thighs. Put the meat right back into the pot, along with any juices that accumulated in the bowl. When I was a kid, my Italian grandma used to put the skin back in the soup, too. Everyone slurped it up without a second thought, and no one had any cholesterol problems. Of course, the birdies of today are a far cry from the chickens of my youth. Did your grandma have any cooking habits that are now a thing of the past?Stir the strained noodles right into the pot. The soup is now finished. You’ll note that I didn’t add any salt. The soup gets all the sodium it needs from the soup base.The broth is a gorgeous golden color and very full flavored. This will taste even better the next day.Here’s my little sickie poo eating her soup. Um, doesn’t everyone eat their soup in pasta bowls? Yeah, that’s what I thought. She perked right up after filling her tummy with two large bowls of the noodley goodness.Isn’t this a pretty soup? It’s not fancy, but my gosh it is so good. Not too strong flavored and not too bland, it’s perfectly seasoned which is nice if you’re feeling under the weather. It’s got all the healing and comforting properties of soup, and really hits the spot.

So, now it just needs a really snazzy name. Help me think of one, will you? Perhaps I need to rethink that dream job again. Wait, I have it already. It’s called “mom” and the pay is great! (You saw that coming, right? ... Yeah, I know you were thinking "rock star" for me, but this mom stuff is a pretty good gig!)


Bellini Valli said...

Chicken noodle soup will cure anything. Hope your little one is feeling better.

Pam said...

Oh poor thing, I hope she is feeling better. I love the tip for the rice noodles being easier to digest! Also, I always put my chicken skin back in the soup, that chicken fat is good for the soul.

Cathy said...

Yum, what a comforting and nourishing soup and a great idea to use rice noodles. You can't beat this on a stormy fall day. Hope your cutie pie is feeling better soon.

Mickle in NZ said...

Chicken soup + rice noodles + garlic in the mix = restorative goodness.

I love using rice or bean thread noodles. I can work off any frustrations as I battle with the obstinate dried noodles - and then be soothed by their noodlie very noodleness wonder in what ever it is I have made.

If only there was someone else to sweep up the bits of dried noodle from the battle that end up on my kitchen floor - Zebbycat is useless at cleaning!

Pam said...

This soup is sure to help her feel better! It looks wonderful. I'll be checking out those rice noodles.

Grace said...

you do a lot of pondering, don't you! i'd really have to think about that poser.
meanwhile, great soup--i particularly love the thin noodles. tis the perfect get-well soup.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

this soup makes me feel so homey - our winter weather is setting n, and it looks perfect for staying at home and getting cosy in the kitchen

and thanks for those brilliant comments for choc chip cookies - it's inspired me to make them again and i will follow your advice (maybe with a blog update on the choc chip post)

Mediterranean kiwi said...

ps: swine flu is all we hear about - and i am so sick and tired of it

Cheryl said...

Man that looks good, rice noodles are my favorite, in fact in two hours I will be eating Pho with a bunch of them. Your baby girl is so cute with her glasses!

DayPhoto said...

I have wondered about these noodles and use for people with gluten problems. Now I know I can try them.


prairierunner said...

Looks good! I stir fry onions, broccoli and mushrooms, put them in the bottom of a large bowl, lay some beans sprouts and suey choi on top of that and pour these same hot noodles over the top. I cook my noodles with a little fish sauce instead of soup base. It's good too.

Marjie said...

It is a pretty soup, and I hope Little Miss isn't swine flued. Mark caught something nasty last Wednesday night, shared with Ryan on Monday, and guess which parents are dragging their butts around today? Sadly, there is no one for me to hit with my cane over this. Maybe my chicken tonight would be better as chicken soup, but I can't beat Patrick into figuring out how to do that. *sigh* I've never tried rice noodles; I just use good old rice. Anything is wonderful in chicken soup, don't you think?

TasteMyPlate said...

What is ti about chicken soup? especially homemade chicken soup with really is magical! Hope the little one is feeling better

Juliana said...

Oh! Your rice noodle soup looks delicious...I haven't had those of a while...great for the weather...yummie!

Karine said...

I hope your daughter is feeling better!

I love your idea to use rice noodle in a chicken soup :)

The Blonde Duck said...

My dream job would be writing whimsical stories for people to I'm pretty happy!

I think you're just the fabulous Paula! No fancy title needed!

And I hope the little one gets better!

Aggie said...

Oh that soup looks so wonderful and comforting. I wish you could have made me some this week as I have been fighting a those rice noodles!

Hope your little one is feeling better!

Robynn's Ravings said...

Well, you know me and soup! I make a chicken noodle that is a mainstay and the weird thing is, I never used to make soups at all - only stews. My son got me started because he loves them. Yours looks terrific - like everything - and I found out you ARE being visited by the ladies at my dentist's office! :)

Spryte said...

YUM!! That looks so good!!

My son would LOVE it!