ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

DRUNKEN CREAMY CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

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Drunken Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
Author: Living Dangerously
Duration: 3 hours
Average Cost: $25.00 US

Serves: 16

It's been scientifically proven that chicken noodle soup helps fight colds. You can believe it or not and just throw pharmaceuticals down your gullet, or you can do the great tasting healthy alternative. A recent NY Times article broke it down.

The most widely cited of these studies, published in the medical journal Chest in 2000, is by Dr. Stephen Rennard of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. He conducted laboratory tests to determine why chicken soup might help colds, beginning with his wifes homemade recipe, handed down by her Lithuanian grandmother. Using blood samples from volunteers, he showed that the soup inhibited the movement of neutrophils, the most common type of white blood cell that defends against infection. Dr. Rennard theorizes that by inhibiting the migration of these infection-fighting cells in the body, chicken soup essentially helps reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms. (To read the whole article go here)

How can you argue with a Lithuanian grandmother, much less the NY Times? But if you're reading this, I doubt I have to sell you on the feel-good properties of chicken noodle soup. You, like me, prefer it, using it as a warm blanket for the soul.

You could get some creamy chicken ramen. God knows it's terrific, but it has enough sodium and fat to make it the food version of an anti-tank missile.  Don't forget that ramen noodles are fried before they are placed in the nice plastic package. You never knew that? Well, now you know.

You could also go the canned soup option, but again, the sodium is very high, and frankly, why?

If you make this recipe you'll have enough soup for ten people, which means you can freeze whatever you don't eat and thaw it out when needed. And let me tell you, when you make this and try this, you'll never go back to canned again.

So here goes.

For the Stock
1 (2 - 5 pound chicken)
3.5 quarts water
1 onion roughly chopped
4 bay leaves
3 chicken bouillon cubes*
1.5 tsp oregano
1.5 tsp basil
3 tsp grated lemon
3 cloves minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
*I prefer to use the Better Than Bouillon Low Sodium Chicken Base. It's as rich or more in flavor and has less sodium than the cubes. But if you can't find this, then use bouillon. Just don't use store-bought stock. It defeats the purpose of making your own.

For the Soup:
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped celery with leafy green tops
1 bag of uncooked wide egg noodles
8 oz sliced mushrooms
Handful of chopped fresh parsley leaves (not dried)
.666 cup brandy**
3 tsp chopped rosemary leaves (fresh if possible)
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup heavy cream
Crusty French or Sourdough bread, for serving
**A non-alcoholic substitute would be .5 cup simple syrup and .5 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions

For the stock: This is how I do it. I add all the stock ingredients to a large soup pot. I chop up the chicken into smaller pieces. I leave the skin on to add a deep robust flavor, but when I remove the chicken later, I throw away the skin. Cook until chicken is tender which turns out to be about 65 minutes. Boil, then simmer covered. Once tender, remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool. Remove the bay leaves and onion and toss. Once the chicken is cool enough, shred chicken using two forks. Toss bones, skin and cartilage. Don't forget to save the wishbone for later

For the soup: Bring stock back to a boil, add carrots, and cook for 3 minutes. Add celery and continue to cook for 6 minutes. Add egg noodles and cook according to directions on package (about 11 minutes). I prefer No Yolk Egg Noodles which are lower in cholesterol and sodium. When the noodles are almost done, add mushrooms, parsley, and rosemary. Add the brandy, ensuring that the cook gets a quick shot so he or she can make it through the rest of the cooking. I then add the chicken back in, then the Parmesan and cream. Cook for another 2 minutes on a rolling bowl to marry all the ingredients (uncovered), then turn off. 

Leave uncovered for ten minutes.

Adjust seasoning, if needed, by adding salt and pepper. This is a lower sodium meal than comes in the can or at restaurants, so be careful to only add as much sodium as you need. Too much sodium is never good.

Enjoy along with a nice hot crusty loaf of French or sourdough bread.

An alternative to the rosemary would be sage. If you're just not a fan of rosemary or just want to try something new, you could add sage instead. I'd add an additional tsp because of the difference in flavor strengths. Lucky for us we love rosemary and have it growing wild in out front yard as you can see.

Something else to be said for high desert living.


Please enjoy and let me know how it turns out. And remember, you can always enjoy a bowl of soup with one my books, either in your hands, or listening to it from Audible.com. Food for the body, mind and soul.

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