Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tasty TV - Madeline's Chicken Soup

I was kind of a dreamy child and like the very first crowd of people to ever watch a moving picture, for a long time it was hard for me to grasp the idea that I couldn't actually experience what I saw on screen. In a way this aspect of reality still kind of bugs me, I have a maddeningly long list of foods I've seen eaten in cartoons and books and movies that look delicious that I will never get the chance to taste. Now that I've started cooking I've decided to start a new spot on my blog dedicated to the fictional dishes I'm dying to sample and their real life versions which I'll be cooking up. The only thing I don't have yet is a catchy name for it (suggestions are definitely welcome here). This week : Madeline's Chicken Soup

My childhood in my mind is measured (as I suspect is the case with most kids from the 90's) by the shows I was watching and the food I ate. Christmas in particular is much easier to remember since by nature of the "traditional" aspect you tend to do the same things over and over. This memory I think marks a tinier window around 1990 and just a few years following.  Madeline's Christmas was a cutesy book first, published around 1956 ( my mom read it growing up) and then (in retrospect) a slightly craptacular  television Christmas special that aired around 1990. I was about 4 when I first saw it and in love with all things french ( I suspect because somebody told me my name was french) so for me this movie was a big deal.

In Madeline's Christmas all the little girls are excitedly getting ready to leave the boarding school to visit their families for Christmas break  when everyone (including the head mistress) gets sick except for Madeline. Madeline mans up and keeps the house running as best she can and with the help of a cheery old lady who stops by to visit(or a magician if you're going by the book) they make this amazing looking magical chicken soup that get everybody well again.

This soup is everything a cartoon chicken soup should be; slurp-able and golden with a little chicken on the side of the bowl. While I can't vouch for it's antibacterial qualities, here's my recipe for Madeline's Chicken soup.

Madeline's Chicken Noodle Soup
Based off of Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup
Bon Appétit  | December 1998

  • 16 cups canned low-salt chicken broth (If you're like me and this is impractical for the size of your pot go with 12 cups)
  •  1 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
(I just used what I had which was two chicken breast halves bone in skin on and a 1lb package of Chicken breast tenderloin)
  •     1/2 cup chopped onion
  •      3 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
  •      2 celery stalks, sliced
  •     2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  •     1 cup sliced mushrooms
  •     1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  •     8 ounces dried wide egg noodles
  •     1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (optional, I didn't have any so I left it out)

Add chicken broth and chicken in heavy large pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat; cover partially and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes give or take*. Using tongs, fish your chicken out and transfer it to large bowl. Cool chicken and broth slightly. Peel the skin and bones off and discard. Cut or shred your chicken meat into bite-size pieces and reserve. Skim the icky fat layer off top of chicken broth.

Return broth to simmer.  Carefully add onion, carrots and celery ( don't just slop it in there like me and burn yourself). Simmer until your veggies are nice and soft, about 8 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover chicken meat and broth separately and refrigerate. Bring broth to boil before continuing.)

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until beginning to brown ( don't crowd your mushrooms!), about 5 minutes or so. Stir in lemon juice. Gently add mushrooms to broth; stir in noodles, parsley and reserved chicken.Your pot will be really full at this point so watch close that it doesn't boil over. Simmer until noodles are tender, about 5 minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

*If you're like me and using chicken pieces of different sizes, put the two breast halves in by themselves for the first ten minutes then add the smaller bits for the last ten.

Mmm mmm mmm

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