After the aspirin, the Tylenol, the decongestants, the cough suppressants, and all those other over-the-counter cold remedies, in the end there is universal agreement that nothing is better than a bowl of steaming homemade chicken noodle soup when you have a rotten winter cold! So when drafting the outline for a new soup book (working title—Soup Nights), one of the first entries I made was for a hearty chicken noodle soup jazzed up by the addition of some sautéed mushrooms and a good dusting of Parmesan cheese.
What gives this soup such a robust and luxuriant flavor is the easily made chicken stock that forms its foundation. You start with good purchased stock (like Swanson’s, my favorite, or College Inn) add fresh chicken, root vegetables, and herbs to it, then simmer the mixture for an hour or more. The resulting stock rivals many that are far more time consuming to prepare.
The rest is easy. The chicken is diced and cooked in the rich stock along with egg noodles. Sautéed mixed mushrooms scented with garlic and rosemary make an unexpected but delicious addition. Finishing touches include a touch of Vermouth, some half and half, and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.
Whether you’re grabbing a box of Kleenex, or lucky enough to be cold-free, this comforting winter soup will either make you feel better or, I am convinced, keep you strong enough to resist the next cold that comes along!
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Chicken Noodle Soup with Sautéed Mushrooms and Parmigiano
Extra Rich Stock
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, with skin and bones
2 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, quartered
2 bay leaves, broken in half
2 parsley sprigs
2 thyme sprigs, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 quarts reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup dry Vermouth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
8 ounces fresh mushroom, such as shiitakes, oyster, and baby bellas, sliced (see note)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary (see note)
2 tablespoons flour
4 ounces short, wide egg noodles (I used Pennsylvania Dutch brand)
1/3 cup Half and Half
Freshly ground pepper
6 fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish, optional
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano Reggiano
1. For the Extra Rich Stock, add the chicken, celery, carrots, onion, bay leaves, parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs or dried thyme, and stock to a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook at a simmer until the chicken is very tender when pierced with a sharp knife, one hour and 15 to 30 minutes.
2. Remove the chicken from the stock and set aside to cool. Strain the stock, pressing down on the vegetables to release as much juice as possible, then discard the vegetables. You should get 8 cups; if not, add enough water to make that amount. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones, and dice the meat. (Chicken and stock can be prepared 1 day ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate.)
3. For the soup, remove 1 cup of the stock and place it along with the vermouth in a small saucepan set over high heat. Cook until the mixture has reduced by half. Set aside.
4. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot set over medium heat. When hot, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and stir one minute more.
5. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir constantly to cook the flour, for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add the remaining 7 cups stock, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the noodles and cook until tender according to package directions, usually about 10 to 12 minutes for dried noodles.
6. Stir in the diced chicken, the reduced vermouth mixture, and the Half and Half. Cook until hot, 4 to 5 minutes more. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Ladle soup into bowls and, if desired, garnish each serving with a rosemary sprig. Pass the Parmesan cheese in a bowl for sprinkling. Serves 6
At the market: Some groceries sell packages of mixed sliced mushrooms including shiitakes, baby bellas, and oysters. This is convenient way to buy them. If unavailable, use 4 to 6 ounces shiitakes (stems removed and mushrooms sliced) and 4 to 6 ounces baby bellas (sliced through the stems).
At the market: Crushed rosemary can be found in the spice section of most supermarkets. McCormick’s is a readily available brand.
Cooking tip: When made a day or several hours ahead, this soup can become thicker because the noodles sometimes absorb more of the liquid. Thin it with some purchased chicken stock if you like.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2015