Hearty Fall Cookery
When I think of fall, Pennsylvania Dutch country comes to mind. Roadside farm stands laden with fresh sweet corn picked right out of the field just behind the stand and the aroma of chicken corn soup simmering away on the stove on a brisk autumn afternoon. You just can’t beat this soup for a warming hardy fall meal!
Chicken corn soup is legendary country fare in this neck of the woods and there are countless variations, but essentially it is simple soup using fresh sweet corn and a broth which practically makes itself while slow simmering a local free range farm chicken. Add to that some homemade noodles, and a few fresh herbs, some chopped eggs, and you have a superb one dish meal that would make everyone happy to be at your table!
For the chicken and soup stock
- 1 whole chicken, organic/free range if possible
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 cup celery leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Place the whole chicken in a stock pot and fill the pot about 3/4 full with spring water. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook about 1 hour or until the chicken meat is nearly falling off the bones.
Lift the chicken out of the pot, sticking the handle of a large wooden spoon through the carcass cavity for easy transfer to a platter. Set aside to cool.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle remove the skin and pull the meat off the bones in generous chunks and set aside to cool completely. Throw the bones and skin back into the stock pot and simmer the stock for another 45 minutes to 1 hour. Strain the chicken stock and return it to a cleaned stock pot and set aside. Discard the bones, skin, and stock seasonings.
While the chicken is cooking you can make the noodles. There is no mystery to noodle making and the results are far superior to any store bought dry noodles of any persuasion.
- 1 cup unbleached flour
- 1 extra large organic egg
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Mound the flour on your work surface (a smooth pasta board, granite, or stainless counter top). Make a well in the center of the flour and add the egg, olive oil, and salt. Using a fork, mix the egg, oil, and salt and then begin adding the flour into the egg mixture, tucking the flour under the egg mixture as you work the flour in using a folding motion. You will probably use about 3/4 of the flour at which point the dough will have formed and you can begin to knead the dough using the palms of your hands and folding the dough over onto itself as you knead. Continue to incorporate a little more flour until the dough is very firm. Form the dough into a smooth ball and flatten into a disc.
Sift the remaining flour to remove any bits of dough in the flour and use the sifted flour for dusting as you roll out the dough.
Roll the dough out into a rectangular shape on a lightly floured work surface with even pressure, turning the dough a quarter turn from time to time, and flipping the dough over now and again. Once the dough is about 1/16th of an inch thick, trim off any ragged edges and fold opposing lengthwise sides of the dough to meet at the center and then fold one half on top of the other half. You are now ready to cut the dough across the folded dough into 3/4″ width noodles. Once the noodles are cut unfold the noodles and toss them together, dusting with a little flour. Cover with a towel and set aside until you are ready to add the noodles to the soup.
For the soup
- reserved chicken stock
- 4 ears fresh sweet corn, kernels cut off the cob, scraping the cob with the back of a paring knife to extract the corn milk
- 1 cup celery, cut thinly crosswise on the diagonal
- 3/4 teaspoon Spanish saffron threads
- reserved pulled chicken meat
- 1/2 cup chopped broad leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped celery leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions, including the green parts
- 2 hard cooked eggs, chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Bring the strained chicken stock back up to a simmer and add the corn kernels and corn milk, celery, and saffron and simmer for 12 minutes. Add the pulled chicken meat and once the stock returns to a simmer add the noodles, chopped parsley, chopped celery leaves, and the green onions. Simmer until the noodles rise to the surface, cooking an additional 1 to 1 ½ minutes until the noodles are al dente. Add the chopped eggs and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle generous portions of the soup into individual serving bowls and serve at once, keeping the soup warm as you will certainly have requests for seconds!
The soup also freezes well for quick last minute meals!