This is the time of year I enjoy having a nice, hot bowl of soup on occasion, like when the temp dips. I've said before that I like to have something chicken-or-another around as I think it makes you feel better in cold weather, soothes a tickling throat and just helps in warming you up all over when your body and mind is aching from winter blues.
Nothing beats a soup made from homemade stock and that's where this recipe starts by using choice chicken but I've made it using a whole hen too. I bet a deli roasted chicken would do just fine too in getting ya moving a little faster. The secret is cooking down the chicken along with the bones, that's where the start of a good stock begins. The noodles cook in the stock as does the vegetables which by the time everything melds together, you really end up with a super thick and rich stock made extra creamy with a good dose of heavy cream at the end. Season it however you like, I happen to like a slight thyme flavored broth. Every thing is here for a reason and comes together for needed nutrients that is good for you. The use of ginger and jalapeno along with the vegetables together form a broth full of antioxidants and vitamins yet neither one overpowers or is even noticeable. So what ever you do, do not leave them out, not if you're cooking this to feel better.
Creamy Chicken Noodle Vegetable Soup
3-4 pounds bone-in chicken breasts or thighs, skin and fat removed
1 bay leaf
1 small onion, halved
1 rib of celery
1/2 head green cabbage, cut in half
1 -1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 -2 inch piece of bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
pinch of dried basil and oregano leaves
2 quarts (8 cups) of water
4 ounces egg noodles or pasta (I used 2 cups of Conchigliette or small sea shells this time)
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) butter
2 spring onions, sliced thin
1 rib of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
6 tiny new potatoes, diced bite-size
3 medium plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper as needed
1 cup heavy cream
In a stockpot, add all ingredients for the stock and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove chicken to a bowl to cool and strain the stock discarding the solids. When chicken is cool to the touch, remove meat to a bowl and add about a half-cup of broth for moisture. Cover and put aside chicken.
Measure the strained stock and add water to make 10 cups. Add this to a medium stockpot, bring to a boil, add the noodles or pasta and cook al dente. Reserve broth and noodles separate.
Clean pot and melt butter over medium high heat. Saute celery, carrots and jalapeno until celery is soft and then stir in the flour. Cook the mixture for several minutes stirring all while, add green onions and add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and add the potatoes. Return heat to second boil. Reduce heat to low and when potatoes are tender, add in the cooked noodles along with the tomatoes and heavy cream. Allow soup to come to a low simmer, add salt and pepper if desired and serve warm.