When I'm organized, a roast chicken dinner generally leaves me with two sets of leftovers: picked meat and stock or broth made from the bones and skin. Yesterday I gave Amaya the choice of chicken nachos or chicken soup. After some careful consideration she decided on soup. (She has to track all of the servings of different colored fruits and vegetables she east each day this week for school and she thought that soup would give her a better spread.) While the vegetables were simmering in the broth, I decided to make noodles. It's not a difficult task. I generally toss a cup of flour, a pinch of salt, and a large egg into a bowl. Then I add just enough milk, as needed, to turn it into a supple dough. As I was mixing this particular batch, I was a little distracted end ended up being a little stingy with the milk, resulting in a drier dough that was little stiff as I kneaded it. I shrugged to myself and wrapped it in plastic wrap to rest, figuring that given a little time it would hydrate and relax.
While the expected hydration did take place in the allotted time period, it did not magically transform a rather firm elastic dough into something silky and supple. After a few turns with my rolling pin it became clear that rolling this dough was going to be an exercise in time and frustration. So I decided not to. Instead I simply cut the flattened dough in half so the noodles wouldn't be too long and sliced the dough as thinly a possible. The fact that it cut easily and the noodles separated without a problem will tell you just how dry my dough was. On the bright side I ended up with great noodles. They were irregular and fun to eat, slightly chewy and resilient, perfect for our soup. Sometimes it's easier to go with the flow and you end up with unexpectedly delicious results.
As a side note, after dinner I used a slotted spoon to remove all the noodles, vegetables, and chicken from the broth. I like to store the two parts in separate containers in the refrigerator because that gives me options. On the one hand the noodles will not be sitting in soup overnight getting flabby and soggy, so when I combine the two parts of the soup for the reheat, it will be almost as good as it was the first time. Or, I can remake the dry half into a pasta dish, either microwaving or sauteing the chunky noodle ragout and then adding cheese and black pepper or a flavorful sauce to liven things up or even fold everything into a frittata. Then I can freeze the extra broth for another use. It takes a couple of minutes to separate the solids from the liquid and it makes my life much easier in the long run. Especially since both my husband and daughter frown upon leftovers. This way I can transform them into a new dish and then everyone is happy.
February 2, 2005