Thursday, February 11, 2010

Comfort In A (Bread) Bowl

It is cold and blustery out. After all, there was a WINTER STORM. And what could be better on those bone-chilling days than a bowl of soup? Nothing, that's what. And if that soup is creamy and has wild rice and chicken and noodles? Well then I say, "Hand over that ladle, my friend!"

When I posted a few days ago about a dearth of topics with which to entertain you, I mentioned in passing that I had thought of posting a recipe for soup. I really was joking, thinking that nobody would be interested. But, take note, because for the first time ever, I was wrong. I have had several people request the recipe. And, as I am easy eager to help, I decided that I would share.

Before I share, I should tell you a few things about this soup. First, it is not my own creation. I found the recipe on a Reames noodle coupon several years ago. Second, while you can use any kind of chicken (boiled chicken breasts, rotisserie, even--yikes!--chicken that has been nuked) I've found that the soup is best when you purchase a chicken and boil it and make most of the broth yourself. It's just richer and tastes better. But I have, in a pinch, used chicken breasts that I've boiled and cut up and canned broth. Third, you might want to have a little extra broth on hand, because the noodles act like tasty little sponges and soak that broth right up. So if you want your soup on the um, soupier side, then be sure to add a little extra broth. Lastly, (fourthly?) my family loves to eat this soup in a bread bowl. I'll tell you how I make these after the recipe.

Whew! Caveats complete. On to the recipe!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes* Makes: 8-10 servings

10 cups (80-oz.) chicken broth, reserve 1 cup
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (12-oz.) package Reames Home Style Frozen Egg Noodles
1 (6.2-0z) box of 5 minute long grain and wild rice**
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning (I almost always add more than this)
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion (I almost never add this, lest my children revolt)
I also usually add garlic in some form, just because I love it.

In a large pan or Dutch oven, combine 9 cups of the chicken broth and chopped onion. Bring to boiling. Add the noodles, return to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes (or until noodles are desired tenderness). Add rice and seasoning packet, cook for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the 1 cup of reserved chicken broth, flour, salt, pepper, and seasoning; stir until smooth. Slowly add flour and broth mixture to cooked noodle and rice mixture, stirring constantly. Bring to boiling; cook 1 minute or until thickened and bubbly. Slowly add half-and-half to cooked noodle mixture; stirring constantly. Add chicken; heat gently, stirring frequently until heated through. Stir in green onions before serving. **I have used the Uncle Ben's 90 second wild rice pouches in place of the 5 minute box with great success. *Add time if you are planning on cooking your chicken and making broth. I usually do this part a day ahead.

Everyone in my family loves this soup. Well, with the exception of the ketchup and breadcrumb eater. But she loves the bread bowl. Although for her it's not a bread bowl, just bread. And those bread bowls? So. Simple.

Just buy some frozen bread loaves. Each loaf makes 2 bowls. The packages I buy at Kroger have 5 loaves in a bag. Thaw the loaves according to package directions. So, for you math phobics, here's a for instance: for my family of six, I need to thaw three loaves to make 6 bowls. When the loaves have thawed and risen, cut each loaf in half and gently shape into a circle. Bake according to package directions. Then when they've cooled, cut the top off and hollow out the inside. Viola! Bread bowls all ready for your yummy soup!

I hope that if you try this you get the praise from your family that I always get from mine when I make it. Sometimes, when I am having a rough time or if I haven't heard nice words from my family in a while, I plan to make this soup just so I'll get some praise. that I think about it, this may go on the menu for the weekend.

Enjoy! If you try this, I'd love to know how it turns out for you and what you or your family think of it. Bon Appetit! (Oh how I wish you could hear me channelling Julia right now.)

blog comments powered by Disqus