It helps to start with a November mind. A few shaggy and grey thoughts, blustery with maybes and indecision, plus a dash of stress. Maybe because the Department of State won't recognize the legal document that states your election to resume your maiden name, so your passport application is delayed. Maybe it's a big stress, or a small thing that digs in like one of those metal frame corners under your fingernails. Feeling it? You're ready to allow yourself the luxury of feeling sorry for yourself and to start cooking. Frustration and slightly cooler weather is key. If you don't have both, save this recipe for later.
Serves: Several saggy souls. Have some containers for leftovers.
1 chicken, fully cooked
1 med. onion
3 stalks celery
4 small red potatoes
4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
For the noodles:
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 medium eggs
dash of salt
splash of water (as needed)
For the optional roux:
3 tbsp flour
1/4 - 1/2 c. water
splash of milk
Bake a chicken.
What? I thought this was going to be an easy recipe! I don't have time to bake a chicken! I'm sad and frustrated and have had a long day.
Do you want this to taste good? Quit whinging and bake a chicken (it takes about an hour in a 350 degree oven), and while it's baking you can work on the rest of the chopping and mixing of noodle dough. Or you can phone it in and get one of those sad and wrinkly baked-for-your-covenience chickens that's been sitting in a plastic bag on a warmer for four hours and suffer the culinary consequences. Up to you.
While your chicken is in the oven, put on some music that makes you want to dance, and cut your carrots into rounds, dice up the celery and onion, and cube the potatoes. I like to arrange the rounds and little vegetable pieces into a pattern on the cutting board, just for fun. Playing with your food is ok, and no one needs to know, unless you photograph the design and post it to your Instagram feed. Hey, "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers is on! Groove.
Saute the vegetables in a little bit of oil at the bottom of a deep pot. I like to use a Dutch oven. When the onions are transparent, add the broth, put a lid on the pot, and let it simmer for awhile as you make the noodles.
The noodles are simple, and I learned this gift of a recipe from my friend Robin. Put the flour into a medium bowl, crack the two eggs into a small bowl and whisk with a fork. Add the eggs to the flour, and use the fork to mix. Add the dash of salt. When it starts to hang together, add a little water until a shaggy mass forms. Spread some flour onto a clean surface, and roll the dough out until it is about 1/8" thick. The noodles will puff up a bit in the broth as they cook. If you want them thicker, roll them out thicker. Cut into whatever shapes you like — squares are traditional. I have a circle cutter I use. Cookie cutters work — why not have hearts and giraffes?
When you're done cutting, lay the noodles out on a cookie sheet lined with some parchment or wax paper so they don't stick.
Chicken done? Let it cool a bit and peel the meat off the bones. Save the bones for making chicken broth. Put them in a bag and stick them in the freezer if you can't do it tomorrow.
Check the doneness of the veggies in the broth by actually tasting them. Don't just poke at them with a fork. Indulge in taste-testing. They should be done by now.
If they aren't done, or the chicken is still cooling, take a walk. It's November, so it's windy, and it will air you out. The trees are calligraphic against the sky, see?
When you're back from your walk, add the chicken pieces to the broth, and the noodles. Bring the broth up to a low bubble and let it gurgle for about 10 minutes. If you have larger noodles, stir occasionally to make sure they aren't sticking together. Add the roux to thicken the broth just a bit. You don't have to do this step if you don't want to, it's just an added bit of comfort that I like.
Serve in bowls. Light a candle for the table. Put your phone away, don't take photos of your food. Just eat, and enjoy. It's not quite so bad now, is it?