Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Traditional After Christmas Soup

Tonight we had the soup I usually make shortly after Christmas.  You see, our traditional Christmas dinner includes a Cornish game hen for each of us.  When the meal is over, I take all the bones, fat, and skin from the hens and pile it into the crock pot.  I add the tops of some celery, an onion (with the skin) sliced in half, a couple carrots snapped in half, two garlic cloves, and a small palm-full of peppercorns.  Then I pour cold water over all of it to fill the crock pot and turn it on low for 20 hours.  After cooking, I strain off all those solids and I'm left with a beautiful rich broth.  That goes into the refrigerator so the fat can solidify on the top.  I remove that fat and I have an almost fat-free beautiful rich broth.  That is the basis for our traditional after Christmas chicken noodle soup.  I'm not a traditional chicken noodle soup fan, so I thought I would share this with you because it's really good, if I must say so myself.
Remember that fat that I spooned off the top of the cooled broth?  I start with a couple tablespoons of that and melt it over medium heat in a large stockpot.  Then I add two carrots, two stalks of celery, and an onion roughly chopped. I sautee this in the chicken fat for at least 5 minutes until the onion is translucent and the veggies are soft.  Then I add two minced garlic cloves just for a few seconds before I pour in the chicken broth and the leftover chicken (maybe about 2 cups).  THEN I add two regular-sized cans of cream of chicken soup.  Tonight I used the 97% fat free variety.  As the broth gets warm, the cream of chicken soup melts into it and thickens it slightly.  Oh, I also add a large pinch of salt and several twists of the pepper grinder.

Once this is all boiling, keeping it at medium heat, I add an entire bag of noodles.  Tonight I had rotini noodles that were various veggie colors (green, orange, red, and regular pasta colored).  Usually I use a bag of egg noodles, but I didn't have any tonight.  Spaghetti noodles broken in half or in thirds would be great too.

After about 5 minutes the pasta is cooked enough and SO flavorful and your soup is ready to serve.  Both of our boys had four servings.  No that is not a typo.  The boys had four servings tonight.  Give it a try!  It's such great flavor.  What are some of your traditional holiday meals?

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