Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup - Part One

My husband's grandmother recently passed away, leaving a big hole in the hearts of everyone who knew her. One thing that she was particularly known for was her chicken noodle soup. When I was first introduced to the dish, I have to admit, I did not quite see the appeal. I did not eat meat for number of years growing up. Those years which I was eating meat, I was more of a canned soup kinda kid. While they were a little abnormal to me, the homemade noodles were very tasty, but it took some time for me to warm up to the thought of homemade chicken broth. As I ate chicken noodle soup at her home over the years though, it became more and more apparent that while the soup was good, it was the love she served with it that made everyone love it so much.

Nowadays, I am a homemade chicken broth maker on a regular basis and think back with a smile to my former trepidation on the subject. I serve a gluten free version of her soup in my home now, with a few tweaks to make it my own. Just like she did, I make a big batch so there is plenty for everyone.

I am going to split the instructions into two parts. Today I will focus on making the chicken broth, and Part Two can be found here and be involve making the noodles and finishing the soup.

The chicken I use is the rotisserie chicken from Costco. It is something of a go-to meal for us when we have a lot going on. We eat the meat from them on one evening, along with whatever vegetables I can throw together, and the next morning the leftover carcasses get made into broth.

Broth Ingredients:
Two cooked carcasses
Half an onion
Four garlic cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 to 1 1/2 gallons of water

Place all  of the above ingredients into a large stock pan, using enough water to cover the chickens. Place a lid on the pot and bring to a low boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for three hours, periodically checking on the progress. The broth will be a lovely golden yellow color when it is finished.

Once your broth is finished, turn the heat off and allow it to sit for a while and cool off. It doesn't need to cool off a lot, but enough that it will not burn you if it splashes. I use a large colander like a scoop and get as much of the chicken out as I can. The chicken will be falling apart at this point.

Place all the chicken pieces into a 8 by 13 inch pan to cool off further.

The chicken broth can be used just as it is at this point. I like to clarify mine a little bit. I pour the broth through the same colander I used to get the chicken out, and into a large pitcher. Then I let it sit on the counter for a little while, and then place it in the fridge so that the fat separates and hardens on the top. I do leave some fat in the broth, but I also do not want a super oily soup. Use your judgement, and scoop however much of the fat you want off of the top of the broth.

As it cools, the broth will solidify a little. It will have a consistency a bit softer than Jell-O. This is thanks to the gelatin that you get when you boil the carcasses. It does look strange if you have never seen it before, but don't be alarmed. The broth will turn right back into liquid once heated, and the gelatin is wonderful for your fingernails and hair!

Once the chicken is cooled enough to handle, pick off pieces of meat from the bones. Even though we use most of the meat when I carve the chickens on the first night, there is a surprising amount left.

I love the thought that I am not letting it go to waste! Place all the chicken meat in a container and save until it is time to prepare the soup.

When you are ready to make your soup, just pour the desired amount of broth into a pot and heat it up.