April 29, 2008

Thyme and Thyme Again Chicken Noodle Soup

img1241/2 pound ground California chicken
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced (or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, crushed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 pound soba noodles
1 can (32 ounces) chicken broth
1-1/2 cups water
1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
thyme sprigs for garnish

In a medium bowl, combine chicken, onion, breadcrumbs, egg, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, thyme, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix until well blended. Shape chicken mixture into 1-inch balls placing meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap; freeze until firm, about 2-1/2 hours.

When ready to cook, remove meatballs from freezer and let stand at room temperature until slight soft on outside, about 20 minutes. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; add meatballs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned and almost cooked through. Transfer meatballs to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Meanwhile, cook, drain and rinse soba noodles according to package directions; set aside.

Place chicken broth, water, carrots and celery in large shallow saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat; season with remaining salt and black pepper. Add meatballs. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add cooked noodles to broth mixture; cover and set aside. To serve, spoon four or five meatballs into 4 soup bowls; ladle broth and noodle mixture equally over top of meatballs. Garnish with thyme sprigs. Serve immediately.
4 servings.

Third Prize, Chicken Traditions with Flair Category
Developed by: Betty Jean Nichols, Eugene, Oregon

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