CHICKEN UDON SOUP
1 large stewing chicken
1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger root, or equivalent dried
salt to taste
chopped green onion for garnish
Water to cover
4 cups flour
1 Tbsp. salt
I was a bit rushed today, so I didn't get a picture of all the ingredients before I started. I wish that I had - the chicken we used was HUMONGOUS. It was an eight pound plus stewing chicken we bought from a local farmer a while back. Very tasty, it was, and there is plenty of meat for at least a couple more meals! Everything but the ginger root was local. This is a very simple soup with few ingredients. The only time intensive part is making the noodles, and that really doesn't take very long.
The first step is to rinse the chicken off and put it into a kettle large enough to have enough room to cover the chicken with water. Boil the chicken gently until the meat comes easily from the bones. Remove the chicken from the pot and cool it enough to separate the meat out. Set the meat aside for now. Bring the stock back to a simmer, and add the ginger. Let the stock sit on a very low simmer until the noodles are finished.
To make the noodles...stir the salt into the flour in a medium size bowl. Add eggs, and about a half cup of water. (You can add more later, how much you will need depends on the type of flour, the humidity and the size of egg you use.) Mix the dough well, adding just enough water to make a stiff, but still kneadable dough. Knead the dough until it is smooth, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes to relax. This makes it easier to roll out.
Divide the dough into three parts, and roll each portion out to approximately 1/8 inch thick. Dust the dough with a bit more flour, fold it over into thirds, and cut the folded roll into 1/4" or less ribbons with a sharp knife. Shake each noodle out gently and pile the finished noodles to the side until all are cut. These udon are made from whole white wheat, so they probably aren't the color one would expect. The flavor, however, was outstanding.
In the meantime, bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil, and add a teaspoon of salt. Drop the finished udon noodles into the hot water a handful at a time. Stir them so they don't stick together, and cook them for one minute after they rise to the surface of the water. Scoop the noodles out of the hot water, rinse them lightly with cool water, and place them into a bowl. You want to partially cook the noodles separately first so the starch that comes off them in the first few minutes doesn't end up in your soup stock, making it unattractively cloudy and gooey.
When all noodles have been pre-cooked, bring the chicken stock up to a rolling boil, and slide the noodles into it. Cook noodles until chewy, but tender and cooked all the way through. How long it will take depends on how thick you made them, but it shouldn't take more than 3-5 minutes or so.
Into each soup bowl put some of the reserved chicken meat cut into bite size pieces, a nice large serving spoonful of the noodles from the broth, and some diced green onion. (These are the first of our shallots from the salad table!)
Ladle the hot ginger-flavored broth over all, and serve! Here is the finished dish - my noodles are a bit thicker and larger than is "traditional" but that's how we like them. You can make yours thinner and smaller if you like.