After the Thanksgiving turkey, my son-in-law David and I made a lot of stock that went into the freezer. Now, after all the wonderful Christmas meals, and everyone gone except Rachel, the snow began to fall and it seemed the perfect weather to use the turkey stock for soup. I share this with you because Nigella Lawson’s Noodle Soup for Needy People has been my go-to comfort food for years. Not only is it an opportunity to use up lots of things left in the fridge but it’s good for colds or when you’re just plain feeling sorry for yourself (I fit into that category today!). As I was putting it together and reading Nigella’s notes on not following the recipe but just throwing whatever you felt like eating into it, it seemed worth putting down here for others. My friend Joellyn from Phoenix stopped by (yes, really) on her way from Maine to Arizona; she brought me a HUGE bunch of kale from her garden. After she left I of course made a big pot of noodle soup. When the store has two-for-one spinach (they did today), this is my go-to soup. If I have leftover chicken or salmon this is a perfect way to use it up — and it’s healthy too.
Here goes: Use about 4 cups of stock — I usually use vegetable stock, but I had the turkey stock in the freezer. Add to it one star anise, some finely chopped or grated ginger (depending on how you like it), a tablespoon or two of brown sugar, and some soy sauce. Bring that to a simmer and let it go for a bit. Then you can add whatever vegetables you like — I add mushrooms, bok choy or spinach or kale, sugar snap peas, bean sprouts, green onions. And, of course, the noodles. Cook the noodles separately. This is important. If you cook the noodles in the soup, they absorb all the liquid and the broth is what makes this soup special. Udon noodles are very good and recommended by Nigella, orzo, or any leftover pasta in your pantry work well. I had another bowl for lunch today on a day when the temperature didn’t go above 28 degrees and it was just as good reheated. I have been known to freeze it but it’s better from the pot or fridge.
I hope you will try this. As I share lessons learned about living alone, retirement, negotiating winter issues and the cold, the value of soup that makes me feel better is important. Let me know what you think.