Now, Gail makes them for us every Christmas Eve. That morning, I come down stairs to the smell of Christmas, a mixture of stewing chicken and baking cookies. We share the chicken and noodles at Gail's mom's Christmas Eve party. By the way, she wanted a good grandmother name, too. We call her Gumma.
Mimi's Christmas Eve Chicken and Noodles
3¼ to 3½ lb whole fryer (not a stewing hen or oven-stuffer roaster, which are tough when stewed and make a less flavorful broth)
3¾ cu (9 oz package) of fresh pasta uncooked
6 small all-purpose potatoes for mashing (Russet or Yukon Gold, about 4 oz each)
3 t Salt divided
About 2 qt water
6 T Butter
6 T Milk
6 T Flour
Extra chicken stock on-hand if needed
- Remove giblets from bird. Rinse inside and out; drain.
- Place bird, 1 t salt and peppercorns in large stockpot. Add water, until bird covered.
- Bring to boil. Reduce heat just enough so pot doesn’t boil over; skim foam as it forms.
- Cook, uncovered, until meat falls off bone and carcass collapses (about 2 hr).
- When chicken falls apart, place large colander into even larger heat-tolerant bowl. Spoon solids into colander, then pour stock through colander to strain.
- Let colander finish dripping, then place over soup pot and re-strain stock into pot. Let colander finish dripping again; set aside into bowl. Pull chicken apart to allow steam to escape and speed cooling.
- Return stock to boil. Cut pasta into bite-sized pieces; add to stock with another 1 t salt; cook according to package or recipe directions.
- When pasta is tender, double strain as before. Set noodles aside.
- When chicken is cool enough to handle, pick meat off chicken bones, tearing into bite-sized pieces.
- No earlier than 1 hr before serving, peel and cut potatoes.
- Return stock to boil. Add potatoes, remaining salt, and water as needed to cover; boil, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 15-20 min.
- When potatoes are tender, double strain as before.
- While potatoes are draining, heat cream and butter. Transfer potatoes to mixer bowl, add heated cream and butter. Whip until fluffy; cover and set aside.
- Measure stock. If less than 3 c, add extra to make 3 c.
- To thicken stock, use 2 T flour for each c liquid. Transfer 1 c stock to blender or food processor, add flour 1 T at a time, pureeing with each addition. Add more stock from the pot, as necessary, to form smooth, thin paste.
- Add flour paste to pot, stirring constantly to combine and prevent lumps. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, 5 min.
- Stir in meat and noodles, heat through. Re-heat mashed potatoes if necessary.
- Serve chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes.