It Can’t Be Better than Mom’s
My parents have been some of the biggest inspirations of my love of food. When I was a kid my dad would order crazy things on the menu and get us to try them, things like conch, octopus, calamari, escargot, alligator and more. My mom would without fail turn out meal after meal of yummy food. She had her repertoire that was fail proof, but would mix things up with new and different things. If something didn’t turn out right (recipe didn’t work out, the food was left in the oven to long, or we just didn’t like it) it was ‘prairie food’ and we should be happy to eat it. It brings back warm and funny memories.
As I got older I would try more things on my own, (most kids were made to try their vegetables, I was made to try whatever crazy thing my dad had ordered) and discovered I liked almost everything. I’ve never been able to get over my dislike of mayonnaise though. In time I’d watch food shows on television, and Top Chef quickly became my favorite show. Through that show and the travels I’ve been on in my life I keep trying new and crazier things, haggis, ostrich, monkfish, eel, frog’s legs, etc,. Just this week squid was delivered in our weekly mailing of sustainable and local fish and now I can say that beyond eating out-of-the ordinary things and trying difficult recipes I also cook out-of-the-ordinary things in difficult recipes. (more on that later).
To get back to the post at hand, one of my favorite things my mom makes is her chicken noodle soup. The right combination of chicken stock (made fresh from bones), chicken, celery, onion, egg noodles, carrot, potato, and corn. Finished with a crank of freshly ground salt and pepper and you are golden. It’s amazing. Nothing can top that on a cold day.
This time however I mixed it up a bit, and I like it. A lot. I’m going to make it this way again. Could it possibly be better than mom’s? Starting with the roast chicken dinner (remember the post about cranberry sauce?) I made gravy from the pan liquids. Of course between the two of us and lack of mashed potatoes I had made too much gravy (can there be too much gravy?) and once I started boiling the water to make stock I decided rather than scrapping that delicious gravy into the trash I might as well put it in the soup. The roasted chicken is basted with butter and salt throughout it’s time in oven and the richness it added to the soup was amazing. It was also far less greasy than some chicken soups believe it or not because my stock is made only with bones, not skin or any of the other bits. The depth of chicken flavor in the stock was really obvious, warm and comforting. The second of the great soups for cold weather. If you want to read about the other soup that was just as delicious but also vegetarian and cheap check out Pottage Parmentier
Mom’s Chicken Noodle Soup (altered by me)
Fill stock pot with water and boil chicken bones partially covered for at least an hour, the longer you boil the deeper flavor the soup has. Throw in some parsley and pepper. Add homemade chicken gravy from pan liquids and 1/2 cup chicken stock (Swanson boxed is fine since any chicken stock I make never lasts more than a day or two) from previous meal.
Chop 4 medium-sized peeled potatoes, 2 large carrots, 1 large or 2 medium onions, and 3 stalks of celery.
Strain out any bones and throw in potatoes, carrots and celery. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Add chopped chicken (leftover from a roast) onions, 1 bunch of chopped parsley and half a bag of frozen corn. Ten minutes before serving throw in half a bag of Pennsylvania Dutch Wide Egg Noodles. Serve with cracked pepper and sea salt. Prepare to eat more than you think.
What’s your favorite tried and true recipe? I’m always up for trying new things 🙂