Our record of staying well was broken this week. Last Friday afternoon, my son’s first grade class was a little crazy before the holiday break. They were bouncing off the walls from eating candy and singing songs. Now, they were ready for the weekend. And of course, Santa and his reindeer. Except my first grader woke up with a fever on Saturday.
That meant time to kick into gear and make some chicken stock. Chicken stock is the base for what my boys call “Noodle Soup.” “Noodle Soup” has the power to cure almost anything. The time they spend with me, in the kitchen, involves watching me do things like peel onions. They ask if they can take turns smashing the garlic bulbs, to release the bulbs, from the skins.
I remember the first time my older guy wanted to know how I made the chicken stock when he got sick. His eyes were glassy as he sat on a chair in the kitchen. It floored him when he watched me toss the carrots in the pot without peeling them. “Mommy, you didn’t scrape the carrots.” Same thing with an onion, halved, but with the skins still on. And the garlic too. We want the flavors of every part of the root vegetables.
So, Saturday meant chicken stock for the first time this season. I try to use the center pieces of celery stalks, with the leaves, for more flavor. A cooked rotisserie chicken is placed in the pot with the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. I cover this with cold water, and drop in some peppercorns, and some sprigs of fresh oregano. Some kosher salt and stock is ready in a few hours. The aromatics and the rotisserie chicken turn the water into a rich, chicken-flavored stock, with the oregano in the background.
The ingredients create a light-colored stock. It is warm and soothing for whatever ails you. In a second pot, I cook the noodles. Years ago, we decided on the fine egg noodles. My older guy complained when I used a thicker noodle. He said they didn’t stay on the spoon. Even worse, when the noodles landed back in the bowl, they caused the broth to splash him in the face. Not fun, when you are already miserable.
When we were at the Christmas tree farm, someone commented on my younger son. She said he looks like the boy in a commercial. The one when a snowman eats a bowl of chicken noodle soup and melts into a young boy. Their “Noodle Soup” makes them feel that good.