All of my girls have colds this week, so I decided to make garlic chicken soup. My mother, like most, swore by chicken soup as a remedy for colds. Garlic is also a natural antibiotic. And although a cold is a virus, it couldn’t hurt.
This was a spur-of-the-moment/what’s-on-hand soup. I wanted to add a lot of vegetables, for the vitamins, but I had only a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I had onions, a leek, celery and cabbage. Except for the tops of the leeks, these are all light green vegetables, so I decided to garnish with some baby spinach at the end (Yea Popeye). In fact, to preserve the vitamins I was not planning to cook any of the vegetables for very long.
Finally, to top it off, I decided that fresh noodles would be more “homey” and comforting than commercial dried noodles. Although the noodles go in last, you have to make them first. They need to dry a bit before cooking, so that they don’t stick together in a lump when you throw them into the pot.
Karl’s Cold Fighting Garlic Chicken Noodle Soup
1 cup flour
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbs. milk
12 cloves garlic
2 chicken breasts
3 Tbs. butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped course
2 stalks celery, chopped course
1 leek, chopped course
1 cup cabbage, chopped course
2 cans chicken broth
¼ cup dry sherry
1 tsp. thyme
½ cup baby spinach
Salt & pepper, to taste
1. Sift the flour and salt together onto a clean non-porous working surface (I use a pastry marble). Create a well in the flour, like a little volcano. Make sure the well is big enough to take all of the egg mixture.
2. Beat the egg and milk together in a cup or bowl and then pour the mixture into the flour well.
3. Using a fork, start bringing the flour into the egg mixture to make the dough. Very quickly you will have to discard the fork and start mixing with your fingers. Damp hands and a bread scrapper is very useful at this point.
4. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic and then roll it into a ball.
5. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 20 minutes.
6. Use a rolling pin to shape the dough into 12 x 12 inch sheet about an eighth of an inch thick. It is very hard to roll noodle dough any smaller than this, but this cooks up into a very substantial noodle. To make a thinner noodle than this: heavily flour the dough sheet and fold it in half. Heavily flour half of the rectangle that is left and fold the sheet over again. You now have a half inch thick, 6 x 6 inch square. Roll this square out to about 10 x 10 inches (or more). Unfold the sheets (the flour keeps them from sticking together) into a 20 x 20 inch sheet that is about 1/16 of an inch thick, Use a sharp knife to cut the sheet along the fold lines and stack the sheets. Roll the four sheets into a cylinder and cut off ¼ to ½ inch slices. Unroll each slice into 4 noodles. Toss the noodles with more flour and set in a cool dry place for at least 1 hour.
7. Cut the garlic cloves in half cross-wise
8. Cut the chicken breasts into thin steaks by laying them flat on a cutting board and slicing them so that they are half as thick as they were.
9. Melt the butter in a soup pot over a medium heat and brown the cloves of garlic (about 5 minutes). Remove the garlic to a plate.
10. In the garlic butter left in the pot, brown the chicken steaks until well done. Remove them to the plate to cool.
11. Add the chopped onion and sauté until just starting to pick up some color.
12. Add the chopped celery, leek and cabbage. Sauté until the vegetables are beginning to soften (about 5 minutes).
13. Add the chicken stock, one can of water, the sherry, and thyme and return the garlic to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes more.
14. Note: A batch of noodles is really too much for the quantities of this soup. You may have more of a noodle stew by using the whole batch or you may freeze half of the noodles for another soup.
15. Add the noodles and cook for 10 minutes more.
18. Shred the chicken and add it to the pot with the spinach and stir to blend.
19. Season to taste and serve.