The horror that is my kitchen sink can mean only one thing…”Chef” Jack must be back in town. I would have shot a new episode for YouTube, but my tripod seems to have gone on permanent loan to my friend Brian. I’m sure he’s putting it to good use in his efforts to get that masters degree in art.
Today’s kitchen extravaganza is inspired by my cousin Amy’s attempt to get her husband Mark to recreate the magic that was our grandmother’s Chicken Noodles! Mentioning this dish in the old days, when she was still with us, would be like a real life version of a stovetop stuffing commercial. “Chicken and Noodles?! I’m staying!” No idea what it was about them, but the shit was good. As the title of this blog states, these are Granny Grunt’s Chicken and Noodles.
This dish is going to take a couple hours. It involves making noodles, a chicken soup, and mashed potatoes.
First up is the noodles. You could probably get away with fresh noodles from the grocery store, but what fun would that be. Nothing special about these noodles, w e got the recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New CookBook, is the one with the red and white checker board pattern on the cover. I’d link to the recipe, but I couldn’t find the damn thing.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 egg yolks beaten
1 egg beaten
1/3 cup water
1 tsp olive oil or vegetable oil
In a large bowl mix 1 3/4 cup of the flour with the salt. Make a well or indentation in the center of the mound of flour. In a small bowl combine the egg yolk, egg, water, and oil. Pour. This mixture into the fancy well you made in the flour. Mix it all together! Do it!
Sprinkle the remaining flour on asmooth dry surface, preferably NOT the floor. Turn the dough onto the floured surface. Knead that sombitch for 10 minutes until nice and smooth. Should be firm but elastic.
Cover the dough with a bowl and let rest for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces.
Now roll out each piece into a 12 inch “square”.
Let them rest uncovered for 20 whole minutes. Maybe start chopping veggies at this point. It’s up to you to optimize your time as best as you can.
Loosely roll up the squares like you would a dead body in an Oriental rug. Cut at 1/4 inch intervals.
Gently shake out the cut pieces, low and behold, you have noodles! Set them aside while you make the chicken.
Now, this is where the cheese starts to get binding…no idea what that means, it’s just something my brother used to say. Anyway, there’s no exact formula to making this dish work. Feel free to screw it all up with your own contributions. I recommend doing it my way or suffer the dire consequences.
4-5lbs whole chicken (this one’s from Whole Foods $12! Ouch!)
Chicken stock 32oz
Bouillon cube or Better Than Bouillon (great stuff! Found at Whole Foods)
4 med carrots chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
1 large onion roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic smashed
2 bay leaves
Mix up a little Better Than Bouillon. 1 tsp stirred into 1 cup boiling water.
Throw that bird in a large pot with the vegetables, garlic, bay leaves, chicken stock, cup of the bouillon mix, and enough water to cover the bird. I also like to add some salt, fresh ground pepper, and some oregano.
Bring the pot to a good boil over high heat. Reduce to moderately high heat and cook at a strong simmer for 1 1/2 hours. You’ll know the chicken is ready when the skins starts to separate from the leg bones. After a while, you’ll see foam rising to the top. Skim this off with a spoon, trying not to scald yourself in the process.
Let’s move on to the…
Best Damn Mashed Potatoes
3lbs russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 stick of butter
Peel the potatoes, quarter them, throw them in a pot, just cover them with water, cover, and bring to a boil. After they reach a boil, reduce heat to medium, take off the lid and cook for 20 minutes longer or until the potatoes a tender.
At he same time in a sauce pan, combine the heavy cream and butter. Cook over med heat until bubbly and reduced by half.
Strain the potatoes in a colander in the sink, and return to the pot. Pour in the reduced heavy cream mixture and mix with a hand mixer until creamy and delicious. Grind some pepper in there for good measure, cover and set aside.
Back to the Chicken…
If your chicken looks like this, then you’re ready to pull it out. Kinda looks like something out of The Walking Dead.
This bastard is going to be unbelievably hot. Incomprehensibly hot. Let it cool off for a while before you try to strip the meat off the bones. Place it in another pot or a bowl while you remove the mushy veggies and bay leaves from the broth. The most amazing broth ever, I might add.
You might want to skim off as much of the oil on the surface of the broth as you can. Good luck with that.
When the chicken has cooled, remove the skin and get rid of it. I don’t want to see that stuff anywhere near this dish. It did its job flavoring the broth. Now pull all the meat off the bones. Break it up into bite size chunks. Now add it back into the broth.
We’re almost done here. Bring the the pot back to a boil! Now, go find those noodles…
Gently drop all the noodles in the pot with the chicken. Set a timer for 3 minutes, doesn’t take long for them to cook.
We’re pretty much done! It should look a lot like this when all is said and done…
Chop up some fresh onion and grab a good size bowl. Drop a scoop of mashed potatoes in the bowl, layer on chicken and noodles, and then some broth. Top with the onions, season with salt and pepper. Sit back and enjoy. If you’re a sappy fuck like myself, bring a box of Kleenex, this stuff’s so good it’ll make you cry for your long lost grandmother.
Unattended bowls will be disposed of properly…