Welcome to 2017! January’s frosty nights had me hankering for a comforting bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup. Ordinarily I wouldn’t think twice about making a simple soup out of broth, noodles, and a few vegetables.
But now that I’m a stepmom to two fairly picky eaters, presenting a homemade meal and having it met with approval or faces that don’t look like I’m asking everyone to eat fried worms has become an achievement on par with completing a triathlon from my single days.
So I proceeded with caution.
As I was dreaming up what I wanted in my soup (with thick egg noodles, all kids like egg noodles, right?) and a creamy roux base, I thought what could possibly go wrong?
I’ve seen them eat carrots. Plus tasteless celery is the most harmless green substance, right? And I’ve learned: no pepper.
The soup came together fairly quickly and I even conducted a taste test in the kitchen and summoned the Guardians of the Dinner Table (aka The Kids who prefer Cheezits and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese above all else) who tentatively (“Is it too hot?? Am I going to burn myself??”) gave nods of approval.
Immediately visions of victory danced in my head! Mama KK (as I am know around these parts) was going to do it! There would be no comparisons to the “way Mom makes it”!
Happily I ladled up (barely one ladle) of soup that just covered the bottom of the soup bowl and set them on the table in a triumph.
Of course, I loved it. Delicious, creamy, full of flavor and bit of chicken. “Homerun,” I told myself. Eric said he liked it, too.
But somehow the Anti-Dinner Goblins managed to cast their spell and The Kids strained to finish their soup. I’m pretty sure I saw eyes welling up with tears, and not from gratitude.
I won in the end, however. After sitting on my hands staring at my own empty bowl for what seemed like hours, I finally blurted out, “If you want those Oreo Churros for dessert, I want to see those bowls empty!!”
Boom. Do what it takes.
Mama KK’s hearty chicken noodle soup
Serves 4 to 6
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons or 1 stick) unsalted butter
8 tablespoons flour
Salt, to taste
4 cups chicken stock
3 carrots, sliced in lengthwise in quarters, then diced
About 1 lb. chicken tenderloins, diced
6 ounces egg noodles
1. Dice the onion and thinly slice the celery.
2. Warm a Dutch oven pot on the stove on medium high heat and add 1 stick of unsalted butter. After it melts, stir in the onion and celery and cook about 3 minutes until the vegetables soften. Add a pinch of salt.
3. Sprinkle the flour over the onion and celery stirring constantly until all of the flour is incorporated. Continue cooking for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the roux from sticking to the pot.
4. Slowly add the chicken broth a bit at a time, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Cover and let it simmer on low while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
5. Slice the carrots lengthwise, and then lengthwise again, dice to form small cubes.
6. Dice the chicken meat. Add both the chicken and the carrots to the soup and turn up the heat until boiling. At this point, you can decide to add more broth (or even just hot water) to get the consistency you prefer.
7. When the soup comes to a boil, add the egg noodles and cook uncovered for 8 minutes until all the ingredients are cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste (or set it on the table for each person to season on their own).
8. Ladle into bowls and serve!
Notes: Feel free to add any seasonings of your preference and other vegetables, such as frozen peas, parsnips, diced potatoes.