Friday, January 31, 2014

Chicken Noodle Soup - Part Two

This is the second part of my posts on making gluten and dairy free chicken noodle soup. On this post, I will focus on making the noodles, and finishing the soup. Part one discusses making the broth and preparing the chicken, and that can be found here. All measurements used here are for making a very large pot of soup, but it will last in the fridge for a few days and is great to reheat for lunches.

First things first, I pull the chicken broth that I made the previous afternoon out of the fridge and gently pour it into a large pot; most likely the same pot I made the broth in. As mentioned in the previous post, I have really close to a gallon of broth. I often pour it through a strainer. Also, pouring slowly helps keep some of the fat that has solidified in the container, and not in the finished product. I don't mind some of it making it's way into the soup, as it does add to the flavor and how satisfying the soup is.

Next, add:
3 cups of chopped carrots
5 garlic cloves (minced)
Salt and pepper to taste

While the broth simmers away, move onto making the noodles.

2 cups white rice flour (brown rice flour is not a good substitute for this)
2 cups tapioca flour
2 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. herbes de provence
6 eggs
1/3 - 2/3 cup of water

Mix together all the dry ingredients. This can be done on a bowl, or just in a pile on your countertop. I use the counter, since that means one less bowl to wash, and gives my children the impression that I am awesome. They sometimes gather to watch....

Form a well in the middle of your dry ingredients that can can crack the eggs into, and guessed it....crack the eggs into it. It will look something like this.

Use a fork to break up the eggs and start incorporating them into the flour mixture. After a minute, you will need to use your hands to knead and squish the mixture to get it as combined as you can. It will not be holding very well together at this point, but you should be able to see it start forming. A little at a time, add water and mix it in well. In our super dry climate, I need to add almost 2/3 cup, but you might need quite a bit less. It is best to stick to a tablespoon at a time, mixing and kneading, until you get a a dough that holds together well. Your hands will be covered in dough by this point, so chase a kid of hubby around for a minute.

Dust your surface with the rice flour and start rolling the dough. Thickness can be a matter of preference, but remember that the noodles will get a little thicker when they are dropped into the broth. Roughly 2/8 inch is a good thickness. Ours tend to be thick, where my husband's grandmother made hers amazingly thin. This may be because I lack patience.

I am not reached perfection at rolling, and neither is my 11-year-old who was helping me. We always end up with a weird shape and not a nice circle or rectangle. If that is what you end up with too, that is alright! We are going for a comfort food item that would more likely be served in a grandmother's kitchen that in a fancy restaurant.

Using a pizza cutter, cut long strips that are 1/2 inch thick, or at least close to it. As I am usually just trying to get dinner on the table, mine are all sorts of thicknesses. The kids and hubby don't seem to mind. Make cuts cross-wise so that the noodles are about 5 inches long.
Using a spatula, pick up the noodles, separating any that stick together as you place them on a plate. Carry them over to the broth with about a plateful at a time. Grab a small handful and drop them in almost like you are sprinkling them into the broth. If they go in too quickly together, they will stick together into a big noodle blob.

Chop up chicken that was prepared previously, if needed, and then drop into the soup.

Bring to a low boil and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring frequently, and checking the noodles to make sure they are done.

Serve yourself and your loved ones up a comforting bowl of soup and relax.