I love soup. I think I could happily eat soup for lunch every day all winter long and not tire of it. In fact, when Jeremy was going to school in New York, I made soup all the time: tomato cream, roasted cauliflower, asparagus, chicken tortellini, beef stew, split pea, lentil-brown rice, chili, you name it.
Jeremy, on the other hand, tends to snub soups. His typical response to a dinner plan featuring soup is disappointed indifference and a hopeful request for biscuits. But I’ve made a few soups in the past year or so that changed his mind. He liked the white chicken chili I made well enough to request it again a few weeks later; a pot of cream of broccoli won him over when he realized we could use leftovers as a pasta sauce; and he said the wild mushroom bisque I made last Thanksgiving was the best soup he’d ever eaten.
Last night Jeremy wasn’t feeling well, and requested chicken noodle soup for dinner. I sighed a little because he had just talked me into getting a lamb shoulder roast for shepherd’s pie the day before, and the Thanksgiving juggernaut was looming. Still, I rummaged for bone-in chicken thighs and boneless breasts to thaw, and tossed the lamb shoulder in the freezer in their place; it will have to wait now until after the holiday leftovers are gone.
Since I was making soup (and not my particular favorite either, I should note), I decided to do it right and start from scratch. To wit: I topped and tailed some carrots and celery, peeled onions and browned up the chicken thighs. The latter, together with the vegetable trimmings, bay leaves, peppercorns, and branches of fresh rosemary and thyme, were simmered together for an hour or so to make a lovely brown chicken stock. While it perked, I passed the time cubing and sauteing and slightly cooling breast meat, dicing and sauteing mirepoix, and snapping a handful of green beans. The nice thing about a request for chicken noodle soup right after you’ve done your Thanksgiving shopping is the ready availability of vegetables and herbs. On the other hand, I may now need to go get more carrots.
The soup came together rather quickly at the end. Once the mirepoix was cooked, I strained my broth into it, reserving the spent chicken thighs to chop up for doggie meal incentives. I chunked the chicken breasts into bite-sized bits and sliced a few small potatoes into the pot. When the latter were getting tender, I added some whole wheat egg noodles (if we’d had eggs on hand, I would have made homemade noodles too; alas, those were being saved for purchase on a quick Costco trip now postponed) and the green beans. The soup needed a bit of skimming and a hefty salt adjustment before it was ready to serve, but it was delicious. Jeremy ate two bowls of it, and I was rather impressed with myself.
Unfortunately, the soup didn’t perform as hoped and make Jeremy feel better. By the middle of the night, it became apparent that we’re dealing with stomach flu, not a cold. It’s a good thing I had a flu shot this year, but I’m crossing my fingers all the same. While I wait to see whether or not I’ll catch the flu just in time for Thanksgiving, I think I’ll have another bowl of soup.