Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

A sore throat. Runny nose. Snowy weather. Bad day.  All situations that can be fixed with a good bowl of chicken noodle soup!  This classic chicken noodle soup was a staple of Sunday night dinners at my house in Australia: my five roommates and I swore it could cure any lingering sickness from the week.  The definition of comfort food, this recipe is SO easy and goes perfectly with a crisp salad and slice of toasted bread.  Make a big batch and store some in the freezer so you always have it handy!

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves 6 as a side, 4 as a main

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 parsnips, thinly sliced
4 stalks of celery, chopped
4 cups reduced sodium, free range chicken broth
1 cup whole wheat pasta
2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes (read Check Your Chicken below)
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
salt & pepper to taste

1. Coat the bottom of a large nonstick pot with oil on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots and parsnips.
2. Cook covered for 8 minutes.  Add celery, and cook for another 3 minutes.
3. Pour in chicken broth and bring pot to a boil.
4. Add in pasta, uncover partially and and reduce heat to medium.  Stir pasta frequently.  6 Minutes before pasta is done cooking according to package directions, add in chicken. (Chicken can be frozen or partially thawed; its easier to cut over the refrigerated temperature.)
5. When pasta is finished cooking, add in a generous sprinkle of salt, pepper, and dill.  Mix throughly and let soup simmer for a few minutes before serving.

Check Your Chicken
To avoid antibiotics, inhumane conditions, hormones, and unnatural genetic engineering, buy grass-fed, pastured, and organic chicken when you can.  Not sure which brands fit these conditions? Whole Foods rates their meat with the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating, using a different colored sticker for each step of sustainable and humanely raised pigs, cattle and chicken.  Aim for step 5, but if you chose step 3, your chicken still had a chance to be outdoors.
For a detailed look into an American poultry processing plant, pick up Chicken: The Dangerous Transformation of America’s Favorite Food by Steve Striffler.  You will be shocked by the inhumane treatment of chicken and workers alike, and the lengths conventional corporations will go to cover up conditions in the poultry processing plant are truly horrifying. The book is an excellent eye-opener to the lack of transparency in our industrial food system.

"Pastured Chicken." LocalHarvest. Web. 9 Feb. 2011. <>.

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