In January, the heart of winter, staying warm is just about the only thing we can think about. In this time of year, we crave food that heats us from the inside out. However, we're not so far away from the holidays either. Light, clean cooking is the order du jour. But there's the bur--we want warm and filling but also light and clean. How to strike a balance? It's tricky.
I start with Leftover Chicken Soup. The clear broth keeps this dish from becoming too substantial. The vegetables make it fresh. The carcass of a previously roasted chicken imparts a wonderful, satisfying depth of flavor, and the noodles make this soup a classic comfort food dish. Leftover Chicken Soup makes a good winter meal because you can cook a big pot, eat some and freeze the rest for another blustery winter's night. Enjoy with a full-bodied red wine, Umbrian Montefalco and Montepulciano from Tuscany are two of my favorites, along with a loaf of fresh, crusty bread.
Leftover Chicken Soup (serves 8)
2 large carrots - cut into 1/4 inch rounds
2 large celery ribs - chopped into 2 inch crescents
Carcass and pan drippings from a roasted chicken
1 lb parpardelle noodles (wide egg noodles)
1. Fill a large stock pot halfway full with water. Add the carrots, celery, chicken carass and pan drippings. Bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Boil for 5 minutes then reduce to a simmer.
3. Remove carcass, stripping off all loose meat. Add meat back to pot.
4. Cook over low heat for 1 hour.
5. Just before serving, add the pasta. Parpardelle comes in nests. Crack the uncooked nests in two before adding so the noodles aren't too long.
6. Cook at a simmer for 15 min or until noodles are soft.
7. Serve hot in low, shallow bowls
8. Make sure to save some for your children's lunch tomorrow!
*Photo courtesy of John Granen for Coming Home: A Seasonal Guide to Creating Family Traditions. Published by Abrams: Stewart, Tabori & Chang.