Monday, October 21, 2013

Tangible Comfort

I can still picture driving down the road, home bound, on dark and rainy nights.  Out and about since long before the sun set, driving with my dad and older sister to and from and having our music lessons.  That last 100 yards to the house, when our van was sputtering down the road, just close enough to see the kitchen light beaming, warm and direct, into the dark of night--I can still picture it.  Trudging up to the door and all the dreary wet darkness was left on the doormat when we entered into the old farmhouse kitchen.  Cold, frigid dampness gave way to the warmth, light, and welcoming smell of dinner.  And inevitably it would be chicken noodle soup waiting. Comfort food, to me, at its finest. Chicken noodle soup served over mashed potatoes.  That was the definition of love on a plate.  "A double starch!" my husband exclaimed when he learned of my deepest comfort food.  Yes, I suppose it is.  But to me it is double the love.

For the Pickles, I make this version.  No noodles, but potatoes right in the soup.  Rice noodles would be fine, but for cost effectiveness and because I have one Pickle that rice noodles don't set well with, 
I just choose to add the potatoes right to the soup.  The Yukon Gold potatoes, when cooked have a creamy texture and the longer they cook, the thicker and creamier they make the broth.  And in my book, that is "welcome home from the cold" perfection in a bowl.
 



Chicken Noodle (Potato) Soup, as I know it, doesn't have exact proportions, but here's the outline of what I do, avoiding pre-made boullion (most which include wheat and/or dairy in the ingredient list), but embracing flavor and comfort.  Adding the red pepper flakes is not to make it spicy, but to keep the flavor warm.  Try it, you'll see what I mean.

3 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1 quart chicken broth
3 cups water
4-5 Yukon Gold potates, diced
4 large carrots, diced
1 1/2 Tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 tespoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Generous amount of sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and simmer together on the stove until vegetables are tender, at least 30 minutes.



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