“Good food is always a trouble and its preparation should be regarded as a labour of love.”
– Elizabeth David
Our ones watch this show on the telly called, Gilmore Girls. It’s not really up my cup of street, to be honest, although I have been known to tune in from time to time, when there’s food involved.
The show itself follows the lives of 30-something single mother, Lorelai Gilmore and her bookish daughter, Rory as the two women endeavour to realise their own versions of the American dream in their home-town of Stars Hollow. There’s much more to it than that, of course, although my knowledge of its intricacies is scant, seeing as how I’m only attuned to the conversations about food (plus I’m usually half zonked in the evenings, my big belly busting with big schpuds, which often seem to have the same affect as sleeping pills).
Most of the time I’m merely an innocent bystander in the living room when the show is on, that is, until someone starts talking about lobster bisque or cheese burgers or pizza with tatter tots. Then my head snaps up as if someone plugged me in. In fairness, there’s a lot of food-related chat although the casual viewer like me is usually found wanting as apart from the various scenes in the cafe or around a dinner table, there is never any inkling of a recipe.
That all changed in December though, when the kindly gentleman in the big white baird delivered a copy of ‘Gilmore Girls: The Official Cookbook.’ It was like someone plugged me in! In point of fact, it was almost as if the kindly gentleman had delivered the book just for me.
So far, I’ve flicked through the book several times and the mental list of what I’m planning on cooking seems to grow by the flick. There’s Roquefort puffs, broccoli tarts, lobster bisque, caprese sandwiches, peanut butter cookies, cashew chicken, edible cookie dough – and that’s just the start of things. Although, this being an American TV show and publication, there are also a few things which sound great but which probably never see the light of day in my kitchen: Jalapeno mac and cheese, roasted acorn squash soup, turkey burgers and the eggless egg salad sandwiches (yuk!).
One thing I was immediately drawn to though, was the extensive recipe in the book for chicken noodle soup.
In reality (outside of Stars Hollow), I have way too much time for chicken noodle soup at the best of times. I have even been known to buy packets of the dehydrated stuff and jizz them up with some shredded chicken, chopped spring onions and hot sauce before the bowl hits the table. This Gilmore stuff, on the other hand, is on another plane of existence altogether. With a base stock of chicken broth made with the carcase of a chicken, packed with vegetables and permeated with both shredded chicken and noodles, it’s the ultimate in wholesome bowls of heart-warming loveliness – much like regular viewers of the show would expect from an episode.
And to go back to that quote from Elizabeth David at the beginning (which was sent to me last week by another man who likes wholesome food), Gilmore Girls’ chicken noodle soup is always a-trouble.
Such is the vegetable count here and such is the time-scale necessary through the making of the chicken broth and the chopping of the vegetables, the preparation process is both long and labour intensive. However, if we bear in mind that the end result is worth the ‘trouble’ – which it is – then we can certainly quantify the prep as a labour of love.
As with many new recipes that I try out, I’ve altered things slightly after the first run-out. I’ve toned down the pepper quantity, left out the dill completely and I use a different kind of noodle. The result is, simply put, my new favourite soup.
2 tbsps of olive oil
2 onions, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 large carrots, finely diced
2 sticks of celery, finely diced
half a tsp of black pepper
half a tsp of smoked paprika
2 litres of chicken stock
1 litre of vegetable stock
2 chicken breasts, meat sliced or shredded
200g of vermicelli pasta, broken up
For maximum taste make your chicken stock by summering a chicken carcase for two and a half hours in a large pot of water with an onion, garlic clove, carrot, bay leaf and some peppercorns. After the allotted time, strain the stock and reduce to about two litres.
For the vegetable stock, I used two Kallo Yeast Free cubes. And they’re absolutely grand.
So, in a large pan, add the olive oil and then the onions, garlic, carrot and celery and a small pinch of salt and sweat up for about 15 minutes.
Add in the pepper, both stocks, the paprika and vermicelli and simmer for another five minutes.
Then add in the chicken and bubble for another five minutes.
Check the seasoning: It might take a pinch of salt and that’s it.
Bowl. Spoon. Buttered bread. Done.
Your new favourite soup.
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