There is no wrong that a good homemade chicken soup can't right. And even without a wrong to make right, a steaming bowl of chicken soup brings a smile to the steamed face.
This soup has three elements:
- chicken stock/broth, the making of which gives you also some boiled chicken
- pasta all'uovo (egg pasta) cut into short tagliatelle
And the three elements can be made at different times and then brought together. Once they are available, putting together the soup requires a short amount of time.
How to make stock/broth
What I call stock/broth is made not only with the trimmings and carcass of a roasted chicken, but also a bag of trimmings I buy from the same provider of the chicken, Shakefork Community Farm. Besides selling whole chicken, they sell breasts and thighs sepately so they have trimmings that they bag and sell for stock. These trimmings have some meat attached, so I call what I make with them stock/broth to indicate that more meat than usual goes into its preparation. (In the past, I have asked our local grocery store for chicken trimmings and I got something similar.) The recipe I use is the same as for chicken stock. I also use a vegetable trimmings to make stock and stock/broth like dark green portion of leeks, corn cobs (what's left after you remove the kernels), roasted pumpkin or winter squash skin (what's left after you scoop out the pulp), etc.
Once the stock/broth is ready, I retrieve all the meat which at this point separates easily from the bone. This step, for which I use my hands, requires a bit of care to avoid leaving in the meat small pieces of bone. The meat has enough flavor to go well into a soup. Plus there is no way I'd discard it. I let the strained stock/broth rest in the refrigerator overnight, skim the fat at the top, then freeze some and use the rest in the following few days.
The beans come from my usual provider, mentioned several times before, more recently in this photo post.
How to cook dry beans
The way I cook beans for further use comes from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison (Beans with Aromatics). After soaking half a cup of dry beans for several hours or overnight in enough water to cover them by about an inch (I use two cups), empty the whole bowl into a saucepan and add
- Half of a small onion (or a quarter of a medium one), halved
- A bay leaf
- A small clove of garlic, sliced
- A couple of sprigs of fresh parsley
Bring the water to a lively boil quickly, and keep it there for five minutes, then turn down the heat and let the beans simmer, covered, until they are ready. How long this takes depends on the type of beans and their freshness. Let them cool in their broth, then remove the aromatics and discard them. Let the beans rest in their cooking broth until ready to use.
The third element is pasta all'uovo. I make a small batch of it using one egg, as in this recipe, then cut it into a sort of short tagliatelle.
All together now
- 2 cups homemade chicken stock/broth (prepared as explained above)
- 1 cup of chicken pieces retrieved once the stock/broth has cooled
- 1/2 cup speckled bayo beans, or other beans of choice (prepared as explained above), and their cooking liquid
- A small batch of pasta all'uovo made using one egg and cut into 1/2-inch wide and 2-3 inch-long strips
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- sea salt and freshly milled pepper, to taste
Add the chicken and the beans and their liquid to the stock/broth and bring to a simmer, while you cook the pasta in salted boiling water. It will take just a few minutes to cook. Drain the pasta and add to the soup. Add some hot water or stock/broth to bring the soup to the desired consistency. Turn off the heat, sprinkle parsley on the soup, give it a good stir and serve immediately.
Of course, you can make this recipe with chicken broth and pieces of cooked chicken you have on hand. The basic idea is to create a nice soup with leftovers and items often discarded before fully used.
The beans make this soup perfect for My Legume Love Affair 49 the current edition of the popular, legume-centered event created by Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook, and hosted this month by Simona of briciole (yes, that's me). This post contains the roundup of the event.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the minestra di fagioli, pollo e pasta all'uovo audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]