Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Homemade Apple-Stuffed Chicken Noodle Soup

What could be better than a hot steaming bowl of homemade chicken soup when you are sick?  Not much other than a cup of tea with honey if you ask me.  And, let me be the first to say that the very last thing on my list when I am down and out sick is to be in the kitchen cooking. Because, generally speaking on my own behalf, when I get sick, I get really sick.  But, this soup basically cooks itself.  Whether you do it in your slow-cooker (setting it to go Lo and slow for 6-8 hours) or doing it on the stove top, all you have to do is start it early in the day and let it go.  Then just kinda get it all together at the end just before dinner time.  Easy and so well worth the very little trouble it is to make it.  Not to mention the cost factor, which is almost as awesome as how delicious it is.  Since I always have the majority of the ingredients on hand in my home, it only cost me just under $12 to make.  Which is less than a dollar a bowl.  And that in itself, makes this recipe a keeper.  Back to the basics is the new in when you are feeding a family, sick or not, in this world today.

4 1/2 lb. whole chicken (anything larger wouldn't fit in my pot)
1 small Macintosh apple (or any other sweet and tart apple)
1/2 a bag of peeled baby carrots
4 stalks of celery (chopped)
1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 tsp. of salt
1/4 tsp. of ground white pepper
1 small sprig of fresh rosemary (used whole so you can remove it before serving)
1 bay leaf (remove before serving)
6 cups of water
2 cups of chicken stock
1 large bag of wide egg noodles (un-cooked)
2 T. of fresh parsley (chopped)

-Rinse the inside and outside of your chicken (I left the neck bone inside of it for the extra flavor) and apple well with cold water.  Take the apple and shove it (no other way to really say it) as far inside of the chicken as it will go.  Place the apple stuffed chicken breast-side down in a large stockpot.  Add in the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary sprig, bay leaf and then the water (if you cannot fit all 6 cups in, then adjust amount to fit in your pot-this just means that you will have to add in more chicken stock later in the recipe once the whole chicken is removed and only the meat is added back in).  Bring this to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low.  Simmer covered for at least 2 hours or more (I actually let it go for over 5 hours and it was amazing).  After simmering it, using tongs, remove the chicken to a plate and let stand until cool enough to work with.  Remove the skin and discard.  Then just pull the meat off and toss it right back into your still simmering stock and veggies (you can keep the remnants and bones to use in future soups, by placing them in a Ziploc freezer bag and tossing it into the freezer).  Remove the rosemary sprig and the bay leaf now and discard them.  Pour in the chicken stock and bring it back up to a boil on medium-high heat.  Meanwhile, bring a separate large stockpot of water to a boil.  Once it reaches a rapid boil, add in about 1 T. of e.v.o. (to flavor and keep your pasta from sticking together) and the egg noodles.  Boil them for about 7 minutes for Au Dente', then strain them.  Stir in the fresh parsley to your soup and serve a few ladle fulls of the soup over a handful of pasta for each bowl.  Serves many (we had like 16 bowls out of it!).  Enjoy!

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