Comfort foods. They come in many different packages. Everyone has their own personal fallback, something they look for when they’re craving “that comforting feeling.” And while nothing is universal, I think it’s safe enough to say that Chicken Noodle Soup is fairly close to a universal comfort food. Right? So, how do we make this all-around comfort food available to Paleo eaters everywhere? I mean, it’s Chicken Noodle Soup! It’s a must have!! Relax. I got it figured out. And I have a few different variations, which I’ve been putting together for the Recipe page I’ll be adding. The photo above was dinner for tonight, so it’s the first one you’ll be seeing. And now, to the soup.
I cook most of my winter soups, stews, roasts and sauces in a crock pot. It’s an excellent tool, and great for the kinds of foods which fall in to my comfort food category. I start out with the chicken. For chicken soup, I almost always use chicken thighs, since I think the thigh meat comes with the most flavor, and I really like what I can do with it. I spice it lightly, this time with a pinch of thyme, about 2 pinches of rosemary, some turmeric, and just a sprinkle of sea salt. Then I put about the same volume of water in the crock as chicken, and let it cook all night on the low setting (it should boil, but just barely). By morning, the chicken should be so tender, it will fall apart with just a little bit of pressure. And, that’s just exactly what I do: with a potato masher, I lightly press the chicken until it has fallen apart in the beginning of the soup stock, becoming almost shredded chicken.
The supporting vegetables for this dish are mushrooms carrots, celery, zucchini, and the “noodle” ingredient which, in today’s dish was Enoki mushrooms (properly known as Enokitake Flammulina). They’re long, thin, white, and work perfectly as a “noodle”! I cut off the base of the mushroom and peel off most of the individual stalks, dropping them in to the soup and stirring. I add these in as soon as I’ve finished breaking the chicken up, and will let them cook with the chicken for most of the day still on the low setting. By mid afternoon, the vegetables will all have the wonderful flavor of the chicken and broth. Around 20 minutes before serving the dish, I’ll add the last ingredients: more celery, and about a cup of coconut cream, to thicken the broth and add some great flavor. Like in chemistry, the order, and timing, of ingredients is an important part of a properly made dish. In this case, I added extra celery because I really like the distinct flavor of the celery added fresh, and I find that the slight crisp the freshly added celery retains is quite a refreshing addition to the texture of the dish. And the coconut cream needs to be added late in the dish because I want the flavor in the broth, but I do not want it to have soaked in to the meat and vegetables. The dish will be ready to serve in 15-20 minutes.
And there we have it: Paleo Chicken Noodle Soup!
- 1 lb Chicken Thigh Meat, chopped (if fresh; if frozen, cook first then chop or shred)
- 4-6 ounces Crimini Mushrooms, sliced (or White Button)
- 1 large Carrot, chopped
- 1 cup Celery, chopped
- 2 medium Zucchini, chopped
- 2 ounces Enoki Mushrooms, each one peeled off the mass (this is the "noodle" ingredient)
- 1 cup Coconut Cream
- Spices: Rosemary, Turmeric, Sea Salt
- Chop the chicken and add it to the pot with some chicken stock (I always make my own stock; see the notes for how to do this from scratch)
- Add the spices and cook for 10-15 minutes on medium heat, covered.
- After 15 minutes cook time, add the mushrooms and carrots and continue to cook on medium heat, covered. Stir thoroughly.
- After 30 minutes cook time, turn the heat down to medium-low, add the celery and zucchini, and continue to cook, covered. Stir thoroughly.
- After another 15 minutes cook time, add the coconut cream, stir thoroughly, and continue to cook on medium-low, covered.
- Cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until meal time, and serve and enjoy!
1. Cook the whole chicken thighs in about 4-6 cups of water with the spices all night on the "Low" setting.
2. In the morning, break up the chicken thighs into bits and pieces with a spoon, potato masher, or fork and tongs.
3. Refresh the water.
4. Add the mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, and half of the celery and cook all day.
5. 20-30 minutes before meal time, add the remaining vegetables and stir thoroughly.