Thursday, April 19, 2012

"Chicken" noodle soup

What excuse do I have this time? I've used the I'm-depressed-because-some-soulless-harpy-tore-out-my-heart excuse in the past. I've used the I'm-a-busy-guy excuse. Neither of those apply. I'm just lazy I suppose. I've been incredibly unmotivated, which sucks because some people have been wanting this recipe since they tried it at a recent vegan potluck I went to. Potlucks aren't the best places for soups in general, but I wanted to show this off. So yeah, for those of you wanting this, I'm sorry it took me so long. Feel free to guilt me in the future bout stuff; it works as a good motivational tool for me.

Okay, this is my recipe for fake chicken noodle soup. It pretty much tastes like the real thing, as has been confirmed by several omnivorous friends, as well as my own memory.


  • Five celery stalks, chopped fairly thin
  • Four large carrots (or like twenty baby carrots), chopped
  • One medium onion, diced
  • Five cloves of garlic, minced
  • One teaspoon of red pepper flakes (or more if you like)
  • About one cup of fairly well chopped seitan (use this recipe
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • Four cups of Better Than Bouillon vegetarian fake chicken base
  • Three to four bayleaves (depending on size)
  • Half a pound of dried linguine pasta (half of a regular package) 
I'm sure there are other good vegetarian chicken broths out there, but the Better Than Bouillon is the only one I can vouch for. It's damn good. I have to get it at Whole Food here in the Saint Louis area, but there's a good chance that other places carry it depending on your region. 

You're going to separately prepare the broth and the rest of the ingredients. The bouillon stuff I'm recommending  can get a little uneven in consistency and density, so it's best to taste it to make sure it's a consistency you want. Heat the four cups in a pot on the stove. Put on a low setting -- you don't want to boil the hell out of it, you just want it to get warm. Go ahead and get this going on the stove before you start with your other stuff. Also, throw in the bayleaves now so they start to infuse in the broth. 

In a separate pot coat the bottom of a pot with the olive oil and heat it on a medium-high heat. Then add your celery, onions, and carrots. Saute this for several minutes until your onions start to caramelize an the celery start looking a lighter green. Then cut the heat down to medium and add the garlic, seitan, and red pepper flakes. Let this heat up for a good five to seven minutes. 

Pour the broth into the pot and turn the heat back up to medium-high. Then you break up your pasta and throw it in. I suggest you break it into thirds, not halves, otherwise the noodles are a bit long and harder to eat. 

Heat it up to a boil then put the heat back down to medium. Don't crank it up here -- the point is to get a solid but gentle boil. You will cook this for a while until the noodles are nice and soft (well past al dente) and the carrots have pretty much no crunch to them at all. The broth should also soak into the seitan giving it a chicken-y tastes. Be sure to stir regularly. This should take at least 30 minutes but probably no more than an hour. 

On a personal note, in lieu of hair of the dog, this soup is the best hangover remedy I have ever had that didn't involve alcohol. My theory is that this soup will go especially well with a gin and tonic or three, and be pretty much the perfect hangover reprieve.