Monday, December 8, 2014

Chicken & Noodles: Relationship Observations and a Recipe

Isn't it funny how the books we read and meals we make inspire so many conversations? These simple touchstones can carry me through an evening of companionship--though sometimes the dialogue can get a little heated, as was the case Saturday night when Jesus and I made dinner and I discussed my current read, Cooked, by Michael Pollan. (Readers of this blog know I'm a fan--see here.)

The book has already brought up a myriad of life-thoughts for me, and I'm only 50 pages in. Especially as I (continue to) pontificate to Jesus while reading, it's clear that food (and where it comes from) is pretty important to me. I strive to eat food (not food-like products) and think about how it gets to my kitchen/table/mouth. Jesus's philosophy is quantity over quality, getting the most for the least, and protein above all.

These contradictory principles have worried me in the past, but so far haven't been an insurmountable point of contention. It helps that I do most all of the cooking when we're together, so I have control in that area. (By choice--I very much enjoy it. Plus, Jesus makes a great sous chef. Don't think he doesn't do his share or at least wash dishes!) And he'll eat whatever I make--if homemade/home-cooked/real food is offered to him, he definitely takes it over fast food. He just won't go out and search for these things on his own.

To illustrate our food logic: I love soup. I never/rarely order it at restaurants because I know I can make it cheaper and better at home. Soup is easy to make, hard to mess up, super comforting in the cold months, and can be as hearty as you want when you're the chef. Jesus hates soup. Or rather, he hates broth. Give him a rotisserie chicken and a side of veggies and he's happy. Put those ingredients in a bowl with some chicken stock and he's up in arms wondering where his sustenance is.

The meal that inspired this revelation? Chicken noodle soup from scratch. I used store-bought noodles, but balanced that out by using a whole chicken for the meat and stock. I roped Jesus into helping and heard all about how cutting up the chicken on our own, boiling it off the bone, using the bones for stock, and adding all that water was counter-intuitive to our his end goal: eating chicken. I listened, then watched as he devoured two bowls.

I still couldn't get him to see that the activity of cutting the chicken and knowing I wasn't wasting any part of it added to my eating experience, but I think he found new respect for me (if his "I love you. That's gross," as I dislocated the thigh bone means anything). Even if I don't go to the From Scratch Extreme every time, I like to challenge myself. I always learn something. Spending non-screen time with my boyfriend is always a positive, and we had a lovely meal at the end of it all. I guess until he refuses to eat what I serve (as if), we're doing okay.

Chicken and Noodles (from the Pioneer Woman)

This recipe isn't meant to be soup, but depending on how much broth you make/use and if you add the flour at the end (I didn't), it can range from soup to stew to...chicken and noodles. Enjoy!

1 whole cut up fryer chicken (YouTube "how to cut a whole chicken" for helpful walk throughs)
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced (I used almost a whole onion)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp tumeric (I left this out)
1/4 tsp white pepper (I used black)
1/4 tsp ground thyme (I used an Italian seasoning mix)
2 tsp parsley flakes
16 oz egg noodles
3 tbsp flour (optional)

Cover chicken in 4 quarts water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes. (Heads up, you're gonna need a huge pot. Or two medium sized ones at least.)

Remove chicken from pot to a cutting board. With two forks, remove as much meat from the bones as you can, slightly shredding meat in the process. Keep meat off to the side. Return bones to broth and continue simmering on low, covered, for 45 minutes.

Remove bones from broth. Add vegetables, herbs, and spices. Stir to combine and simmer for 10 minutes.

Increase heat and add egg noodles and chicken. Cook for 8-10 minutes. (I stopped here and served myself a bowl of hearty chicken noodle soup.)

Optional: mix flour and a little water. Stir until smooth. Pour into soup, stir to combine, and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until broth thickens a bit.

No comments:

Post a Comment