Chicken n Noodles

I tend to be most interested in the simplest of recipes. The recipes with the fewest ingredients, often exhibit the greatest variability. Bread is the best of example of this and that's what I spend a great deal of time on. I enjoy the pursuit as much as the final product.

Something different today, though. Inspired by a meal we had a week or so ago, I tried chicken and noodles. A most gracious neighbor served us one of the best examples of this dish I've ever had. The chicken broth was rich and the noodles tender without being mushy. It was decadent. I'm afraid I may have been overzealous in probing our generous host for details of the preparation, but I couldn't help myself.

In my attempt, the chicken broth was made from a whole chicken and vegetables. The chicken was pulled from the pot and the meat rescued from the bone only an hour into the simmering. The meat was put aside for the final dish and the bone returned to the simmering soup of veggies (carrots, onions, parsley, pepper, etc., standard stock stuff) and left for a few hours.

The noodles were prepared from 2.5 cups of all-purpose flour and 3 eggs, a 1/2 t salt and a dash of olive oil. The dough was kneaded and divided into 3 portions. Each portion was rolled into a ca. 12" diameter circle, rolled up, cut into thin strips and the resulting noodles released after unrolling the cut up shreds of dough. They were kind of thick and only a few inches long (I cut most of them in half). The noodles then were allowed to dry for a few hours.

Next the stock was filtered to remove all the bones and veggies, the reserved chicken returned, the resulting mixture heated to a brief boil and the noodles tossed in with just enough water to make a thick mass of everything. Not too soupy. It cooked on a low heat for about 12 minutes and was seved over biscuits.

It was good but not nearly as good as our neighbor had prepared. My stock was good but the noodles were much tougher. This is the variability I was referring to. Noodles are a simple prep, but the details are in the process of making them. How much additional flour is incorporated while kneading, how long the dough is kneaded and just how the dough is handled prior to cutting the noodles are all critical parameters that are difficult to describe. So trial and error kicks in. I think I'll try to kneed the dough less next time trying to achieve a more tender noodle. I still haven't had the leftovers re-warmed, maybe they'll be better.

Postscript: 22-Nov-03
The leftovers were reheated for about 5 minutes on the stove for a quick lunch. Much better. I think the noodles are actually fine but need to be cooked much longer to become more tender.

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