Today I made one of my favorite childhood dishes – chicken and home-made noodle soup. For the first time in my adult life, I decided to purchase a natural pasture raised heritage chicken from Denwally Farms to use for making my soup.
Wow! The first thing I noticed about the heritage chicken is when I removed it from the package it didn’t smell like poultry! Instead it smelled clean and fresh. As a wellness chef, I appreciated how clean the bird was. I noticed while I was cooking it, there was no unpleasant odor and that was a blessing – it was becoming apparent right from the start this was just a natural, good bird to start with.
I placed this already delightful chicken in 8 cups of water and simmered it for about 1-1/2 hours. I didn’t put any extra seasoning in the pot because I wanted to taste this bird just the way it was. For many many years, after I cook chicken, I like to pull off the excess fat, so when it was done cooking, I cooled it and placed it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, I went to skim the hardened fat off the top and discovered that it only had about 4 teaspoons and it was not the hard, saturated fat found on store bought chickens! This fat was more like soft butter, so I scooped it onto a napkin, thinking I would take a picture of it because I wanted to show people this is exactly how it is supposed to be. By the time I located my camera, it had all melted into the napkin! What this means to YOU is that it would NOT sit in your body and that is a very good thing!
Another wonderful thing I noticed it also had the best gelée (a natural gelatin) stock I’ve seen in a long time (that’s when it creates a great silky texture in the mouth). Usually I have to cook up the bones of at least 4 whole chickens to produce that amount of gelée! I am so excited because who’s got the time or room for cooking 4 chickens to accomplish what I got from just one of Denwally’s natural heritage chickens?
I found it easy to debone and yielded about 26 ounces (1.6 pounds) of meat from a 4 pound bird – plenty for a pot of soup! The meat was tender and yet firm. It wasn’t the stringy mealy meat I usually experience with the 90 day wonders from the store. Wow! Sometimes I buy an old egg-layer as a stewing hen to make my soup, and the meat, while flavorful, is usually tough and difficult to chew so I am very excited about the quality of the texture.
I am happy I didn’t season the chicken while cooking because the meat had excellent flavor in its own right, and was pronounced in every bite – even when it was cut into pretty small pieces in the soup. I just had to share with my friends, so several people have tried the soup and all have enjoyed it. Most wished I had put two chickens in the pot because they liked the chicken so much.
From now on, heritage chickens are on my menu. Now that I tried one, it is well worth the money. I would totally recommend buying these heritage chickens because of the great quality and flavor. You get what you pay for.
Thanks, Denwally Farms! I can tell you have lovingly cared for your birds, and it really shows.
Wellness Chef June Hadlock
8 cups cold water
1-4 pound heritage chicken
8 cups cold water (for soup stock)
2 large onions (about 2 pounds),diced
2-1/2 pounds carrots, diced
7-10 celery stalks,cut down middle and sliced thinly
2 T sage ground or 12-15 fresh leaves, thinly sliced
2 T “Better Than Boullion” chicken base (reduced salt)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt (optional to finish with)
2 cups + 1/2 cup flour
3 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
I cook my chicken the day before and let it cool overnight so I can strain the fat off. You can also make the noodles before heating the stock – especially if you think it may take you a bit more time. It wont hurt the noodles to sit on the counter up to 2 hours so enjoy
In sauce pot place water and chicken.. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 1-1/2 hours. Cool overnight in fridge. Cut up the Veggies and store covered in the fridge for ease tomorrow.
Next day, remove fat from top and put the pot back on the stove, Remove bird from stock and debone, set aside. Add the second 8 cups of cold water to the stock, add all the veggies and herbs. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
While the stock is heating, make the noodles:
Thoroughly clean and sanitize your counter! Place 2 cups of all purpose flour on the counter. Take the measuring cup and press down in the middle, swirl, and compress the flour against your hands to form a bowl. Make it about twice the size of the bottom of the 1 cup measuring cup. Crack the eggs into the middle of the flour first.
Pour the milk into a cup and add the salt to it. Stir until well mixed then add to the eggs in the middle. With a fork, begin to stir the eggs in a circle-just like you would if you had a bowl. – They will automatically begin to pull more flour into the center. Be patient and watch the edges of the “bowl” for leaks.. Just press the flour bowl together if you develop one. Pretty soon the mixture will become thickened and you can push the flour from the edges into it. The dough will be slightly sticky when done and will form a ball. Don’t over mix..shape into a cylinder for ease of rolling. Set aside. Clean the counter (keeping the bits to add to the dough) and sprinkle part of the 1/2 cup of reserved flour onto the counter. Place the dough on a floured counter, flour top and roll out-adding flour to counter and top to keep from sticking. Roll till about as thick as the side of a coffee cup. With a pizza cutter, thinly slice the noodles (I actually use a straight edge that is dedicated to my kitchen and sanitized!) When the noodles are cut sprinkle any remaining flour on them. The using a spatula, lift the noodles up in the air and let them drop back down.. this will spread the flour on the sides and keep them from sticking. They can rest at this stage a a couple of hours.
Now back to the soup pot! Test your veggies for doneness – they should be tender but not mushy. Bring back to a boil and the noodles a handful at a time..”sprinkling” them down on the stock.. They will rise to the top. After all noodles have been added, stir and reduce heat to a low boil and cook for eight minutes.. Garnish with a little fresh parsley and serve hot!
Serving Size: makes 30 1-cup servings