Choc-a-block Chicken Soup

Mother Nature, if your intent with this wicked-bad non-spring-ish weather was to make me desire one last giant pot of soup, then you have succeeded. Frankly, if it wasn't, I don't know what the point is because I'm sure you don't like seeing us miserable. You wouldn't've made such fine and beautiful things come out later in spring if you liked miserable.

Or, and here's a theory, maybe you knew I had some cooked chicken meat that needed using up.

Chock-a-Block Chicken Soup

I cannot make a small soup. I am incapable. I thought, before starting this, "I'll just make enough for tonight, lunch tomorrow and maybe one more to freeze."

Hah. I should've never believed me.

This soup ends up being pretty thick with stuff (it's chock-a-block, duh), although I still wouldn't classify it as a stew--the broth's too thin, in my mind. As with all my soups, this one is a gigantaur. Feel free to adjust.

6.5 oz egg noodles (or 180 grams)
1 Tbsp oil
2 cups (1 large) leeks, thinly sliced
1 cup diced carrots
5 cups broth
3 cups water
1 1/2 cup chopped, cooked chicken
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
5 mushrooms, quartered
1 cup frozen corn niblets
2 Tbsp fresh thyme, minced
1/2 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt & pepper
squeeze of lemon

Bring the water to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a big ol' saucepot and add the leeks and the carrots. Salt them now, as it'll help them sweat a bit. I like leeks for a few reasons--they're mild, their smell evokes chicken soup to me like no other, and they're much prettier floating around in soup than their diced white counterparts. The measurement sounds like a lot. This was a big leek. Plus, they break apart and fluff the second you move those pretty rings. Stir occasionally over very low heat; the idea is not to brown, for once.

Stirred to softness? Good. Your water's probably boiled, so go dump the noodles in.

Add broth and water to your aromatics, then the chicken and garlic. Black pepper it. Stir, then bring this to a simmer for ten minutes or so.

Take your noodles out at about half that time, five minutes. They're a little al-dente at this stage but that's good--you'll cook them a little when they're added to the soup (don't add them straight in; you'll loose too much liquid) and probably cook them again when you rewarm the soup some later day.

Now that we've simmered, add the quick-cooking vegetables and the herbs: the zucchini, mushrooms, frozen corn, thyme, parsley (note fresh vs. dried amts!), red pepper flakes, and that squeeze of lemon. Fear not--the red pepper flakes are not enough to make a vat of soup this size truly spicy. Rather, they lend warmth. But you're gonna reduce them anyway, so whatever, go ahead.

Squeeze a wedge of lemon in. No, seriously. It'll be nice. I'm debating just adding some of my minced preserved lemons next time.

Add the noodles. Stir, let this all simmer five minutes more.

Serve with some sort of bread.

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