Chicken & Noodles

My Grandmother's noodles were like receiving a visit from Santa Claus aside from Christmas Day.  It wasn't until I became older that she taught me her ways to spin these ordinary ingredients into a magical concoction.  She would roast her chicken in the oven and collect the drippings to use later  After the chicken had cooled, she would remove it from the bones making sure to get every last piece - then she would take the scraps and bones and place them into a pot to make the stock for the dish.  This is how her mother did it - they had to use everything available to them since it was never much.

Later, after the drippings has cooled in the refrigerator to set she would add it all to flour with a little water and salt until it felt right in her hands.  Then she would divide the dough and roll it out thin - it always had to be thin for her and cut it into strips and place it back into her freezer to get cold - you need them to be really cold she always would say pointing her finger at me.  The end result was a silky, smooth noodle that melted in your mouth.

My version is slightly updated due to modern technology and my ability to speed up the process ever so slightly with the help of one of my permanent kitchen guests - Cuisinart.  I use their vertical roaster to make the most succulent chickens - I never have to heat up my whole oven again and it automatically shuts off, life made simple.  I also utilize their Electronic Pressure Cooker in this recipe to make the stock - instead of hovering over the stove for hours it turns out wonderful, home made stock in 60 minutes.  To make the noodles their 16-cup food processor makes light of this work and allows me to do mix the dough in a matter of seconds - no kidding.

With all of these things in mind, the recipe I am going to show you is going to assume you have roasted your chicken (and pulled it from the bone), chilled your dripping in the refrigerator and made your stock (you will need roughly 12 cups stock).

1 3.5-4 lb. chicken
12 cups chicken stock (1 cup reserved @ room temperature mixed with 1/4 cup flour)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
Noodle recipe below

In a large pot on the stove over medium heat place olive oil and add onions and garlic, saute until fragrant and soft - roughly five minutes.  Add shredded chicken, thyme, parsley and bay leaf - simmer for 15-20 minutes.

While broth is simmering we will make the noodles.  In a food processor fitted with the metal blade place the following:
2 1/4 cups flour
Chilled Chicken Drippings
1 tsp. salt
(possibly 1/4 - 1/2 cup water, depending on dough consistency)

Pulse first three ingredients together to combine.  We want the dough to begin to slightly resemble pie dough, so if it is still crumbly in texture add 1/4 cup water and pulse again - repeat of necessary until desired consistency is reached.  Turn dough out onto a silpat gently knead with your hand for a minute.  Divide dough in half, rolling each half in between two silpats until thin-1/8" give or take.  Place rolled dough into the freezer to chill for 15-30 minutes.  Remove from freezer and using a pizza wheel, cut into noodles roughly 1" wide - length is up to you.

At this point, remove your bay leave and place the noodles one by one into the simmering pot, stirring occasionally to ensure noodles are not sticking.  Add reserved stock/flour mixture at this point, return pot to simmer and let cook for another 15 minutes.  Mixture should have thickened at this point.  Season with salt & pepper if desired.

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