Chicken Noodle Soup

al dente [ælˈdɛnteɪ]: pasta and (less commonly) rice or beans that have been cooked so as to be firm but not hard. (Wikipedia)

Chicken soup is a comfort food that is easy to make. Using home made chicken stock only intensifies the flavor of the soup and is something people turn to when sick.

Chicken Noodle Soup

4 cups chicken stock
Cooked chicken shredded (I used the meat from making the broth and added a few chicken thighs)
Uncooked pasta
vegetable oil
2 medium sized carrots, finely diced (or reuse the carrots from making the stock)
2 celery ribs, finely diced
1 white onion diced
1 Meyer lemon, juiced
parsley roughly chopped

Chicken soup

Chicken soup made out of chicken stock

In a pot, heat up a splash of vegetable oil and add the vegetables.  Saute until soft and then add the meat, stock and pasta.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the pasta is al dente. Before serving, add the juice of one Meyer lemon (I really love the addition of lemon in this soup). Serve and garnish with parsley.

Preserving Meyer Lemons

preserve [priˈzərv]: maintain (something) in its original or existing state (Wikipedia)

lemons

Meyer lemons and preserved lemons

Meyers lemons are my favorite lemons to use in cooking.  They differ from other conventional lemons in that they are sweet and tart and are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. They are traditionally found in grocery stores in bags containing 5 lemons (1 lb bags). Because their skin is fragrant and thin, they are the ideal lemons for preserving, the simple technique of pickling the lemons in salt and their juices prior to incorporating them in cooking. Preserving lemons takes up to a month for adequate usage.

Preserving Meyer Lemons

1 pint canning jar sterilized (double the amounts if you wish to use 1 quart)
5  Meyer lemons
1/4 – 1/2 cup of salt
freshly squeezed lemon juice, if necessary
Before you begin, be sure to sterilize your jar to remove any leftover detergent residue or hard water film as these can contaminate the taste of your preserved lemons. The method I like to use is boil enough water to cover the jar and lid and let it soak for 5 mins. Allow to cool prior to using.

With the lemons, cut off the ends of the lemons without exposing the flesh. Next quarter the lemons but not all the way through, leaving 1/2 inch from the bottom.  Generously sprinkle salt on the exposed flesh and its outside and reshape the  lemons.  Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the bottom of the jar and then pack the lemons in, pushing the lemons down to release their juice.  Continue doing so until the top lemon is covered in juice.  If you run out of juice from the squished lemons, top the lemons with additional fresh squeezed lemon juice but not chemically produced lemon juice or water as that will destroy the natural taste of the preserved lemons. Top the lemons with 2 tablespoons of salt leaving 1/2 inch of headroom at the top of the jar to allow the lemons to expand.

Leave the jar on the counter for 2-3 days, turning the jar over occasionally to distribute the liquid evenly.  Store the jar in the refrigerator for the next 30 days.  When ready to use, remove the rind with clean utensils so you don’t risk contaminating the rest of the lemons.  Remove the pulp, if desired, and rinse the rind under cold water to remove any excess salt.  Cook and flavor dishes accordingly.