Comfort foods. They come in many different packages. Everyone has their own personal fallback, something they look for when they’re craving “that comforting feeling.” And while nothing is universal, I think it’s safe enough to say that Chicken Noodle Soup is fairly close to a universal comfort food. Right? So, how do we make this all-around comfort food available to Paleo eaters everywhere? I mean, it’s Chicken Noodle Soup! It’s a must have!! Relax. I got it figured out. And I have a few different variations, which I’ve been putting together for the Recipe page I’ll be adding. The photo above was dinner for tonight, so it’s the first one you’ll be seeing. And now, to the soup.
I cook most of my winter soups, stews, roasts and sauces in a crock pot. It’s an excellent tool, and great for the kinds of foods which fall in to my comfort food category. I start out with the chicken. For chicken soup, I almost always use chicken thighs, since I think the thigh meat comes with the most flavor, and I really like what I can do with it. I spice it lightly, this time with a pinch of thyme, about 2 pinches of rosemary, some turmeric, and just a sprinkle of sea salt. Then I put about the same volume of water in the crock as chicken, and let it cook all night on the low setting (it should boil, but just barely). By morning, the chicken should be so tender, it will fall apart with just a little bit of pressure. And, that’s just exactly what I do: with a potato masher, I lightly press the chicken until it has fallen apart in the beginning of the soup stock, becoming almost shredded chicken.
The supporting vegetables for this dish are mushrooms carrots, celery, zucchini, and the “noodle” ingredient which, in today’s dish was Enoki mushrooms (properly known as Enokitake Flammulina). They’re long, thin, white, and work perfectly as a “noodle”! I cut off the base of the mushroom and peel off most of the individual stalks, dropping them in to the soup and stirring. I add these in as soon as I’ve finished breaking the chicken up, and will let them cook with the chicken for most of the day still on the low setting. By mid afternoon, the vegetables will all have the wonderful flavor of the chicken and broth. Around 20 minutes before serving the dish, I’ll add the last ingredients: more celery, and about a cup of coconut cream, to thicken the broth and add some great flavor. Like in chemistry, the order, and timing, of ingredients is an important part of a properly made dish. In this case, I added extra celery because I really like the distinct flavor of the celery added fresh, and I find that the slight crisp the freshly added celery retains is quite a refreshing addition to the texture of the dish. And the coconut cream needs to be added late in the dish because I want the flavor in the broth, but I do not want it to have soaked in to the meat and vegetables. The dish will be ready to serve in 15-20 minutes.
And there we have it: Paleo Chicken Noodle Soup!