Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sage Noodle Soup

What is it about photographing soup that is so difficult?  Sometimes I contemplate having DH make a special bottom-lit soup bowl so you can see all the goodness in clear soups.

Anyway, I wasn't planning on posting this recipe until a couple of Facebook friends wanted a copy, and I realized it was a good one to share.  I also realized it was a good one to kick off (not so) Urban Hennery's Dark Days challenge.  This cool challenge asks us to commit to making one meal a week that is sustainable, organic, local, and ethical (SOLE) -- since sustainability is in the title of this blog, I expected it to be a snap!

However, it is hard to meet all these criteria.  For example, while I think cooking at home, making your own soup noodles, and using home-grown herbs to make a meal are all sustainable, I have to admit that I used packaged chicken broth.  This is probably a bad choice, because we all know how badly CAFO chickens are treated (that is, not typically ethically).  I have been trying to make more of my own stock, but right now I only have ham stock in the freezer (not what I wanted for this) and a box of chicken broth in the pantry begged to be used up (at least that is an ethical move -- not wasting food).  I have also had no luck finding local sources of any kind of flour or grain, let alone semolina, in spite of the fact that I'm willing (eager!  jonesing even!) to get a grain mill and grind my own.  (This is the kind of project that usually gets me in trouble.)

Anyway, I think it is a good first attempt, and I'll keep you posted on future endeavors; in the meantime, visit (not so) Urban Hennery at the link to the left.

Sage Noodle Soup

Sage Noodles:
1 cup regular flour
1 cup semolina flour
2 eggs  (local farm-raised with lovely orange yolks)
1 t. salt
sage to taste (I used about 1 T of the dried from the summer)
water to make thick paste

Turn out on floured board and kneed in the flour until no longer sticky.  See the basic method here. Roll with rolling pin until about 1/2 inch thick and cut into whatever size you like (although I like about an inch by an inch and a half for soup). Cook by boiling until they float in the rapidly boiling water. (I cook mine separately so the leftovers don't create bloated noodles by leaving them in the soup. This also keeps the starch that boils off the noodles out of the soup, so you have a clear soup.)

While this is going on, bring the following to a boil and then reduce to a simmer:

1 qt. chicken stock
1 onion, diced
1 pint frozen corn (that's what I had from the summer; it is good with carrots or peas too)
1 T. sage
1 T. marjoram (both spices dried from the garden; you can sub thyme or oregano for the marjoram if you like)
Optional--a few diced green chiles, for heat (about 1-2 T -- these were frozen from my garden)
salt and pepper

When corn is cooked and onions are translucent, place some of the noodles in each serving bowl and top with soup. Repeat as needed. (I usually double this recipe so I have leftovers. If you do, you only need to double the soup and not necessarily the noodles.)
The Analysis
Fast:  I made this batch of soup in under an hour, which is a long prep time for me but very enjoyable on a cold Sunday afternoon.  You can make the soup part in the crock pot if you prefer, which means that part can cook while you are at work.
Cheap:  By having an inexpensive local source of eggs and a lot of herbs and peppers at my disposal, this was not an expensive recipe.  (Full disclosure:  It was even cheaper because my mom gave me a few boxes of chicken broth she wasn't going to use by the expiration date.)  I think that making my own chicken stock in the future is a good next step to frugal soup.
Good:  The sage noodles really boost this soup from ordinary to special.  I am really working on natural healing endeavors right now, and there is a reason that chicken soup is called "Jewish Penicillin."  The onions, peppers, sage, and marjoram all have properties that will help out if you have a cold or flu. 
I think the next herb noodle project will be thyme noodles with fresh thyme (grown locally -- in my foyer!).  I can't wait to have some of those with some smoked cheddar on top!
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