Tuesday, February 06, 2007
After moving I came down with a bad cold and wanted something easy to make, comforting, and restorative. This bowl contains three things: celery, chicken stock, and noodles. Celery I like to buy in sticks rather than bunches because I can pick out the inner stalks and leafy pieces where most of the flavour hides. The chicken stock should be quite concentrated, giving the dish its body. (Note to all the worried people who find this blog by googling: should chicken stock be jelly? YES, it should, this is from the bones.) The noodles are dried, flat, white Chinese wheat noodles. They cook quickly and get soggy quickly, and I was not impressed with them until I started cooking them directly in soups and strongly flavoured sauces - they absorb a lot of character from the cooking liquid. Egg noodles would work well too.
Chop celery, mostly inner stalks and leaves, finely across the grain (don't worry much about shape, they cook enough to break down) til you have two cups chopped celery. Sweat over medium heat in a large saucepan with a pinch of salt til tender. Add three cups chicken stock and boil til celery is falling apart and the stock is reduced by about a quarter. You should have quite a bit of liquid still in the pan. Take a portion of noodles (about a dime's circumference) and break into thirds if desired. Add noodles to the pan and boil til they are tender, watching to make sure they don't stick together and adding hot water or more stock if the mixture gets too dry. Serves one sick person.