Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

Bowl of chicken soup
Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup

Sometimes, nothing but a soothing old-fashioned soup will do and it doesn’t get more classic than this comforting Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup.

However, Chicken Noodle Soup can sometimes be, well, blah and rather tasteless unless it has some seasoning. I am a big believer in layering in flavors to create a tasteful dish and that is how I have designed this soup.

Whether you simply crave homemade comfort food or you’re feeling under the weather, this soothing and nourishing broth-based Chicken Noodle Soup will be just what’s needed.

Pre-Preparation

I highly recommend some pre-prep work to make the soup-making process easier and more efficient. Start by removing the chicken pieces from the refrigerator at least 20-30 minutes before searing them as they will sear better if they are not super cold.

Chop the onions and slice or dice the carrots and celery. Mince the garlic. Measure out the poultry stock and seasonings. Weigh the noodles and, if using, squeeze the lemon juice.

Chicken

Use chicken with skin on and bone in for this soup. Starting with raw chicken (as opposed to already cooked chicken) helps to create a good flavor base for the soup. Choosing chicken that has the bone in will add more flavor than will boneless chicken pieces. Leaving the skin on the chicken allows the fat to add flavor to the soup and is useful when searing the chicken as explained below. So long as the weight of chicken called for in the recipe remains the same, any cut of, or combination of, chicken pieces can be used – e.g., chicken breasts, thighs, legs. That said, breasts and thighs will yield more meat. For ease of cooking, I recommend using similarly-sized pieces that will all cook for about the same amount of time. I used equal-sized chicken breasts for the soup in the photos.

Searing the chicken pieces till the skin is golden-brown helps to keep the meat moist and provides an outer “buffer”, to insulate the chicken as it continues to cook in the stock thus helping to prevent the chicken from becoming dried out and rubbery. Of course, searing the chicken till it is golden-brown, helps to add color and flavor to the soup. If you have a grease splatter screen/guard that fits the top of your stockpot, I recommend using it to avoid fat splatters and potential skin burns as the chicken sears. It will spit and splatter so do be careful around it.

Use an instant read thermometer to test chicken for doneness (165°F internal temperature), inserting the thermometer into the thickest meat part of one of the chicken pieces that has temporarily been removed from the stock to have its temperature taken. The cooking time I have suggested in the recipe is to be used as a gauge only as cooktops vary in their heat generation and chicken pieces cook at different lengths of time based on their cut and size. Use a thermometer for accuracy. Do not overcook the chicken.

After searing the chicken pieces, be sure to deglaze the stockpot with a bit of the poultry stock called for in the recipe. Scrape up any brown bits left in the bottom of the pan from searing the chicken. These little tidbits will add great flavor and additional color to the soup.

Poultry Stock

I prefer to use my own homemade poultry stock as the base for soups. You can find my recipe here. I find it is flavorful and I can recognize and pronounce all the ingredients in it so I know what I am eating! I never throw out a chicken or turkey carcass as it makes fabulous stock. I always have a ready stash of poultry stock in my freezer to use as the base for making soups which are a mainstay in my diet.

Homemade Turkey Stock
Homemade Poultry Stock

While I recommend the use of homemade stock, commercial stock from your grocer’s store shelf can be used if you don’t have homemade stock on hand. Just be sure to buy a good quality, flavorful stock and preferably one that is not overly salty. Sometimes, some commercial brands are little more than lightly colored salted water, in my opinion, and they will not give your soup either flavor or color. Because this is a broth-based soup, use a high-quality stock as it is the key ingredient to this soup’s flavor.

Mirepoix – Well Not Quite

A traditional French mirepoix would have an exact ratio of 2:1:1 of onion to carrots and celery and the veggies would be very uniformly and finely chopped. While I will often adhere to this holy grail ratio, sometimes, my tastebuds lead me in another direction, especially when I don’t want to over-do the onion flavor and yet want the bulk of more celery and carrot in the dish. I wanted a cup each of celery and carrot but not 2 cups of onion as per typical mirepoix ratio which would, in my opinion, overpower the soup’s desired flavor (I am using 1 1/3 cups chopped onion in this recipe). So, all this to say….in my view, sometimes it’s the cook’s prerogative to go with taste versus scientific ratio (some chefs may, no doubt, beg to differ!). Sautéing these aromatics before adding them to the soup, allows them to release their flavors that will give deep, well-rounded flavor to the soup.

Vintage bowls filled with homemade chicken soup
Chicken Noodle Soup
Noodles

Almost any noodles can be used in this soup. I typically use broken up pieces of thinner type pastas like spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine, broken into about 3” pieces. However, wider egg noodles or other pasta shapes, for example, can certainly be used in this recipe. These are added near the end of the cooking and should only be cooked until they are barely al dente.

Vegetables

Any kind of favorite mixture of frozen vegetables can be used in this soup. I often make it with nothing more than peas and/or corn (as was done with the batch of soup shown in this post’s photographs where frozen corn was the sole frozen vegetable used). However, there are so many different frozen vegetable combinations on the market today that there is a mixture for everyone’s taste. Just make sure, whatever vegetables you choose to use, are not overcooked. They should just be al dente.

Season As You Go

I recommend tasting the soup as it is being made and adding additional salt and freshly ground pepper conservatively. The amount needed will largely depend on the kind of poultry stock used. If it already has a hefty amount of salt in it, then the soup will need very little additional salt.

Broth-based Soup

This soup is meant to be a broth-based soup. However, I do add a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with water to form a paste. Be sure to temper this paste with a bit of the soup’s hot liquid so that it will blend well when added to the soup. This amount of cornstarch is minimal compared to the amount of liquid in the soup so it won’t make it a thick “chowder consistency”. It will, however, strengthen and give a bit more body to the broth so it won’t be quite so thin and watery. This addition is optional so, if your preference is to have a very thin broth base, by all means, skip this step.

Add a Spritz or a Splash of Freshly-squeezed Lemon Juice

This step is totally optional but, at the time of serving, a light spritz or splash of freshly-squeezed lemon juice can add a bit of brightness to the soup’s flavor and the lemon’s acid balances out any salty flavor which is especially useful if using a salt-laden commercial stock. A word of caution, though, go easy on the amount of lemon juice used as adding too much will quickly turn this lovely flavorful soup into a not-so-pleasant sour soup.

Add a splash of lemon to brighten the flavor of chicken soup
Chicken Noodle Soup
Freezing the Soup

This soup freezes well so is great to have on hand. Freeze it in freezer-safe containers of desired serving size. Be sure to label and date the soup.

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

2-3 tbsp cooking oil
2 – 2½ lbs chicken pieces (e.g., breasts/thighs, bone-in and skin on)

7 cups poultry stock
1 large bay leaf
1½ tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp dried Basil
½ tsp dried summer savory
½ tsp dried turmeric
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp dried dill
1/8 tsp ground dried fennel
Salt and pepper

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 1/3 cups chopped onion
1 cup carrots, diced or sliced thin
1 cup celery, diced or sliced thin
Sprinkle of salt
3-5 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with water to form a paste

4 oz uncooked noodles of choice (e.g., egg noodles, broken spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, or other pasta shapes)
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables of choice
Salt and pepper, to taste

2 – 3 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

Method:

Pre-Prep:

Remove chicken pieces from refrigerator at least 20-30 minutes before searing.

Prepare and measure the onion, carrots, and celery and mince the garlic.

Measure poultry stock and weigh the noodles. Measure out seasonings and cornstarch.

Prepare lemon juice, if using.

Heat cooking oil in large, heavy-bottomed, stockpot over medium heat. Season both sides of chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the chicken pieces, skin side down, for about 3-4 minutes, just until skin is a golden-brown color. Flip the chicken pieces over and repeat on the bone side. Remove and transfer chicken to a heat-proof cutting board.

Over medium heat, deglaze, with a couple of tablespoons of the poultry stock, the large stockpot in which the chicken pieces were seared. Scrape up any brown bits remaining from the chicken. Add the remaining poultry stock, bay leaf, seasonings, and chicken pieces. Bring mixture just to the boiling point then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered for approximately 15-20 minutes (see Note below re cooking time).

When the chicken has been cooking for about 10 minutes, prepare the aromatic vegetables as follows. Add olive oil to a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When heated, add the butter and, once melted, add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 6 minutes. Add a sprinkle of salt as the vegetables sauté. Add the minced garlic cloves and stir continuously for about 30-45 seconds until garlic is fragrant, being careful not to scorch the garlic. Remove from heat.

When the chicken has been cooking about 15 minutes, remove one of the chicken pieces from the stock and insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of a chicken piece to test for doneness (see NOTE below regarding cooking time). When chicken tests done (165°F internal temperature), remove the chicken pieces from the stockpot and transfer to a heat-proof cutting board. Allow chicken to cool slightly then, when it is just cooled enough to handle, use forks or fingers to remove and discard skin and bones and shred, or chop, chicken into bite-sized portions.

While chicken is cooling and being shredded or chopped, reduce heat under stockpot containing the poultry stock to medium-low, skim off any visible fat that may have surfaced, and add the sautéed vegetables. Cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes then add the noodles and frozen vegetables. Cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat slightly. Whisk cornstarch with a small amount of water to make a paste. Temper with a bit of the hot soup liquid and stir cornstarch mixture into the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer soup for a few minutes longer, just until noodles and vegetables are al dente. Stir chicken back into stock pot to heat (3-4 minutes). Do not boil. Remove and discard bay leaf.

If desired, add a spritz or a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice just at time of serving to brighten up and balance out the soup’s flavor. Don’t over-do it on the addition of lemon juice as it is easy to turn this into a sour soup.

Serve soup with crackers, biscuits, or bread of choice.

Soup freezes well.

Yield: Apx. 10 cups

NOTE: The cooking time for the chicken that I have suggested in the recipe is to be used as a gauge only as cooktops vary in their heat generation and chicken pieces cook at different lengths of time according to their size and cut. The cooking times suggested in this recipe are based on chicken breast cuts. Other cuts and sizes of chicken pieces may require different cooking times. Use an instant read thermometer for accuracy to ensure that the chicken is properly and safely cooked.

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Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup

This hearty made-from-scratch Chicken Noodle Soup is flavorful, nourishing, and the perfect comfort soup made with poultry stock and loads of chicken meat.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword Chicken, chicken noodle soup, chicken soup, soup,
Servings 8
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 - 2½ lbs chicken pieces (e.g., breasts/thighs, bone-in and skin on)
  • 7 cups poultry stock
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp dried Basil
  • ½ tsp dried summer savory
  • ½ tsp dried turmeric
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp dried dill
  • 1/8 tsp ground dried fennel
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup carrots, diced or sliced thin
  • 1 cup celery, diced or sliced thin
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with water to form a paste
  • 4 oz uncooked noodles of choice (e.g., egg noodles, broken spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, or other pasta shapes)
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables of choice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 – 3 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

Instructions

Pre-Prep:

  1. Remove chicken pieces from refrigerator at least 20-30 minutes before searing.
  2. Prepare and measure the onion, carrots, and celery and mince the garlic.
  3. Measure poultry stock and weigh the noodles. Measure out seasonings and cornstarch.
  4. Prepare lemon juice, if using.
  5. Heat cooking oil in large, heavy-bottomed, stockpot over medium heat. Season both sides of chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the chicken pieces, skin side down, for about 3-4 minutes, just until skin is a golden-brown color. Flip the chicken pieces over and repeat on the bone side. Remove and transfer chicken to a heat-proof cutting board.
  6. Over medium heat, deglaze, with a couple of tablespoons of the poultry stock, the large stockpot in which the chicken pieces were seared. Scrape up any brown bits remaining from the chicken. Add the remaining poultry stock, bay leaf, seasonings, and chicken pieces. Bring mixture just to the boiling point then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered for approximately 15-20 minutes (see Note below re cooking time).
  7. When the chicken has been cooking for about 10 minutes, prepare the aromatic vegetables as follows. Add olive oil to a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When heated, add the butter and, once melted, add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 6 minutes. Add a sprinkle of salt as the vegetables sauté. Add the minced garlic cloves and stir continuously for about 30-45 seconds until garlic is fragrant, being careful not to scorch the garlic. Remove from heat.
  8. When the chicken has been cooking about 15 minutes, remove one of the chicken pieces from the stock and insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of a chicken piece to test for doneness (see NOTE below regarding cooking time). When chicken tests done (165°F internal temperature), remove the chicken pieces from the stockpot and transfer to a heat-proof cutting board. Allow chicken to cool slightly then, when it is just cooled enough to handle, use forks or fingers to remove and discard skin and bones and shred, or chop, chicken into bite-sized portions.
  9. While chicken is cooling and being shredded or chopped, reduce heat under stockpot containing the poultry stock to medium-low, skim off any visible fat that may have surfaced, and add the sautéed vegetables. Cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes then add the noodles and frozen vegetables. Cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.
  10. Reduce heat slightly. Whisk cornstarch with a small amount of water to make a paste. Temper with a bit of the hot soup liquid and stir cornstarch mixture into the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer soup for a few minutes longer, just until noodles and vegetables are al dente. Stir chicken back into stock pot to heat (3-4 minutes). Do not boil. Remove and discard bay leaf.

  11. If desired, add a spritz or a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice just at time of serving to brighten up and balance out the soup’s flavor. Don’t over-do it on the addition of lemon juice as it is easy to turn this into a sour soup.
  12. Serve soup with crackers, biscuits, or bread of choice.
  13. Soup freezes well.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 10 cups

NOTE: The cooking time for the chicken that I have suggested in the recipe is to be used as a gauge only as cooktops vary in their heat generation and chicken pieces cook at different lengths of time according to their size and cut. The cooking times suggested in this recipe are based on chicken breast cuts. Other cuts and sizes of chicken pieces may require different cooking times. Use an instant read thermometer for accuracy to ensure that the chicken is properly and safely cooked.

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Bowl of homemade chicken soup

Goat Cheese and Basil Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Breaded Stuffed Chicken Breast
Goat Cheese and Basil Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Designed with the smaller household of two in mind, the recipe for these delectable Goat Cheese and Basil Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts is easily scalable to the number of servings required. So, for example, if you need four servings, simply double the ingredients called for in the recipe. Continue reading Goat Cheese and Basil Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Custard Sandwich Cookies Recipe

Cookies Sandwiched with Pink Buttercream Icing surrounded by pink flowers
Pretty Custard Sandwich Cookies

These Custard Sandwich Cookies bear some resemblance to those that many know as Melting Moments, my recipe for which can be found here. The primary difference between these Custard Sandwich Cookies and Melting Moments is that the latter contains cornstarch giving the cookies what is commonly known as a “short”, ever-so-slightly crisp, texture while the Custard Sandwich Cookies contain vanilla custard powder that gives them a wonderful soft, creamy, and slightly crumbly texture as well as additional flavor and a more yellowish color. Continue reading Custard Sandwich Cookies Recipe

Luscious Lime Curd Recipe

Glass jar filled with Lime Curd
Luscious Lime Curd

Sharper and with a tangier taste than lemon curd, lime curd (in its natural state) is a slightly duller color than the traditional lemon curd with which most people are probably more familiar. One would think lime curd would automatically have a lime green color but this is not the case as the juice from limes is actually a very pale bland color. I added just a touch of green gel icing coloring to brighten up the curd and give it a pretty lime green color, more consistent to what might be expected of the appearance of a lime curd. Continue reading Luscious Lime Curd Recipe

Clementine Sponge Pudding for Two

Two ramekin dishes filled with single-serving Sponge Pudding
Clementine Sponge Pudding for Two

This self-saucing Clementine Sponge Pudding, baked in a bain marie, consists of a lovely citrus-flavored sauce topped with a light-as-air sponge cake. The pudding is proportionately sized for two servings making it ideal for the small household. Continue reading Clementine Sponge Pudding for Two

An Islander Day Cream Tea

Gold Tray with Teapot and PEI Teacups
Prince Edward Island Commemorative China Teacups

As I write this post, it is a statutory holiday known as Islander Day here in Prince Edward Island. As such, I thought it would be an appropriate time to showcase my small collection of PEI commemorative cups and saucers. Continue reading An Islander Day Cream Tea

Rustic Oatmeal Bread Recipe (aka Porridge Bread)

Loaf of Porridge Bread nestled inside a tea towel
Rustic Oatmeal Bread

Some may know this old-fashioned bread simply as “Porridge Bread” because of its rolled oat content. Rustic Oatmeal Bread is a hearty bread that has a soft, chewy texture. It’s ideal as a sandwich bread, makes fabulous toast, is great for French toast and, heck, it’s just fine slathered with butter or molasses! Continue reading Rustic Oatmeal Bread Recipe (aka Porridge Bread)

Teatime to Celebrate 9th Blogiversary

Table set for afternoon tea for two
Teatime for Two

Today marks nine years since I began My Island Bistro Kitchen food blog. Regular followers of my food blog and social media channels will know of my love for anything and everything to do with afternoon tea! So, it would only seem fitting that my focus for celebrating this milestone would be a celebratory afternoon tea. Of course, in my case, it’s any reason at all to enjoy afternoon tea! Continue reading Teatime to Celebrate 9th Blogiversary

Baked Haddock au Gratin Recipe

Baked Haddock in a cream sauce topped with breadcrumbs and cheddar cheese served in an au gratin dish
Baked Haddock au Gratin

At least once a week, I have fish. Haddock is a favorite and while I like it simply pan-fried in butter, sometimes I like to dress it up and, on those occasions, I make Baked Haddock au Gratin.

Awhile ago, I canvassed my food blog followers to see if there was interest in smaller sized recipes for one or two servings and there was sufficient interest so I indicated I would, from time to time, develop and post recipes for this particular demographic. This haddock recipe is sized for two servings but is easily doubled if four servings are needed.

I have also tested this recipe by baking it from frozen state (in baking dishes that go from freezer to oven safely) and it turns out fine so it is one that I now have on hand in my freezer for when I want a dressed up haddock dish. Everything but the cheddar cheese goes on to the dish before it is frozen. Note that, if baking the fish from frozen state, additional baking time beyond what is stated in the recipe will be required. If you are planning to freeze this dish for baking later, make sure you use fresh fillets, not fish previously frozen.

This is not an overly complicated recipe. The sauce basically consists of chicken stock, whipping cream, milk, and Dijon mustard with onion, celery, red pepper, and mushrooms sautéed in butter for flavor and all thickened with flour. The dish is then baked in the oven with a breadcrumb and cheddar cheese topping. This recipe can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour as the thickener and by using gluten-free breadcrumbs for the topping.

Individual au gratin dish filled with baked haddock in a rich cream sauce
Baked Haddock au Gratin

My preference is to use individual au gratin dishes for this recipe for several reasons. First, it keeps the fish intact. Haddock is a fragile fillet and breaks apart very easily. Baking it in an individual serving dish keeps it altogether so the fish serves well and is not all broken apart when plated. It is simply served right in the dish in which it was baked. Second, this sauce is rich and it needs to cover the fish completely so, if using a larger baking dish to bake the two fillets together, make sure the pan is just large enough to accommodate the fillets as there is only adequate sauce for the two fillets. If the sauce runs off the fish (which it will) into the bottom of a pan, it will be spread too thin and may burn and the lovely flavorful sauce will be lost.

The fillets can certainly be baked together in a slightly larger au gratin dish for two. Alternatively, if you don’t have suitably sized au gratin dishes, a baking pan the size of what is used in a toaster oven would likely work for two fillets (e.g., typically an 8”x6” pan) or a 10”x5” baking dish could also work. The other reason I like to use individual baking dishes is that, for presentation purposes, it allows for plating the meal to look like restaurant quality as each individual has their own serving dish (remember, we do eat with our eyes first)!

While I have used haddock in this recipe, any white fleshed fish fillets can be substituted with the sauce.

Au gratin dish filled with baked haddock in cream sauce served with basmati rice and a medley of stir-fried vegetables
Baked Haddock au Gratin

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Baked Haddock au Gratin

Ingredients:

2 haddock fillets, each apx. 5-6 oz (fresh or thawed, if frozen)
Garlic salt (apx. ½ tsp or to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup whipping cream (36% MF)
¼ cup milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp butter, melted

1½ – 2 tbsp butter
2½ tbsp finely chopped onion
2½ tbsp finely chopped celery
3 tbsp finely chopped red pepper
1/3 cup sliced white button mushrooms (about 1 oz)
2 tbsp all-purpose flour (or gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour, if required)

1/3 cup fine breadcrumbs (gluten-free, if required)
2½ tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
½ tbsp butter, melted

1/3 cup grated old or medium Cheddar cheese

Paprika (optional)
Green onions and/or slices of orange or lemon for garnish (optional)

Method:

In small bowl, combine the chicken stock, whipping cream, milk, Dijon mustard, and 1 tbsp melted butter. Set aside.

Chop and measure vegetables and grate cheeses.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease two individual-sized au gratin dishes (or a small shallow baking dish just large enough to arrange the fillets in a single layer). Sprinkle fish fillets with garlic salt and pepper. Arrange one fillet in each au gratin dish or single layer if using one baking dish for the two fillets. Note, in order to get the fish fillet to fit in the single au gratin dishes, an end of each fillet may need to be cut off and arranged alongside fillet in au gratin dish. Set aside.

Melt 1½ – 2 tbsp butter in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, red pepper, and mushrooms. Cook the vegetables just until they are barely tender, stirring frequently (apx. 3 minutes).

Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and stir to combine. Cook for a few seconds, stirring to prevent scorching, then reduce heat to medium low and gradually add the whipping cream and chicken stock mixture. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. Continue cooking until sauce starts to thicken, apx. 1 minute. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir until melted, about 1 minute longer or until sauce is thickened to desired consistency.

Spoon sauce equally over each fillet, covering all areas of the fish completely. Combine the breadcrumbs and the ½ tbsp melted butter. Sprinkle mixture equally over fillets. Place au gratin dishes on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet in case sauce should bubble over. Bake for apx 20-24 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are browned, sauce is bubbling, and fish is thoroughly cooked and flakes easily when tested with a fork. Note that baking times may vary due to size and thickness of fillets.

Sprinkle cheddar cheese over each fillet and return to oven for 1½ – 2 minutes, just until cheese is melted.

Let fish stand for 5-10 minutes to allow sauce to set before serving. Sprinkle each fillet with paprika and garnish with sliced green onions and an orange or lemon slice, if desired.

Serve with choice of potato or rice, and a favorite side of vegetable(s), steamed or stir-fried.

Yield: 2 servings

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Au Gratin dish filled with Baked Haddock in Cream Sauce Topped with a Breadcrumb and Cheddar Cheese Topping
Baked Haddock au Gratin

Printable Recipe

Baked Haddock au Gratin

This Baked Haddock au Gratin dresses up mild white fish fillets with a delectable cream sauce topped with breadcrumbs and cheddar cheese. Serve with rice or choice of potato and side vegetable(s).
Course Main Course
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword baked haddock au gratin, fish, haddock, seafood
Servings 2
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • 2 haddock fillets, each apx. 5-6 oz (fresh or thawed, if frozen)
  • Garlic salt (apx. ½ tsp or to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream (36% MF)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1½ - 2 tbsp butter
  • tbsp finely chopped onion
  • tbsp finely chopped celery
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped red pepper
  • 1/3 cup sliced white button mushrooms (about 1 oz)
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour (or gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour, if required)
  • 1/3 cup fine breadcrumbs (gluten-free, if required)
  • tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup grated old or medium Cheddar cheese
  • Paprika (optional)
  • Green onions and/or slices of orange or lemon for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. In small bowl, combine the chicken stock, whipping cream, milk, Dijon mustard, and 1 tbsp melted butter. Set aside.
  2. Chop and measure vegetables and grate cheeses.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Grease two individual-sized au gratin dishes (or a small shallow baking dish just large enough to arrange the fillets in a single layer). Sprinkle fish fillets with garlic salt and pepper. Arrange one fillet in each au gratin dish or single layer if using one baking dish for the two fillets. Note, in order to get the fish fillet to fit in the single au gratin dishes, an end of each fillet may need to be cut off and arranged alongside fillet in au gratin dish. Set aside.

  5. Melt 1½ - 2 tbsp butter in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, red pepper, and mushrooms. Cook the vegetables just until they are barely tender, stirring frequently (apx. 3 minutes).
  6. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and stir to combine. Cook for a few seconds, stirring to prevent scorching, then reduce heat to medium low and gradually add the whipping cream and chicken stock mixture. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. Continue cooking until sauce starts to thicken, apx. 1 -2 minutes. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir until melted, about 1 minute longer or until sauce is thickened to desired consistency.

  7. Spoon sauce equally over each fillet, covering all areas of the fish completely. Combine the breadcrumbs and the ½ tbsp melted butter. Sprinkle mixture equally over fillets. Place au gratin dishes on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet in case sauce should bubble over. Bake for apx 20-24 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are browned, sauce is bubbling, and fish is thoroughly cooked and flakes easily when tested with a fork. Note that baking times may vary due to size and thickness of fillets.

  8. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over each fillet and return to oven for 1½ - 2 minutes, just until cheese is melted.
  9. Let fish stand for 5-10 minutes to allow sauce to set before serving. Sprinkle each fillet with paprika and garnish with sliced green onions and an orange or lemon slice, if desired.
  10. Serve with choice of potato or rice, and a favorite side of vegetable(s), steamed or stir-fried.

Recipe Notes

Yield: 2 servings

Hydrangea and Holly Tablescape

Christmas tablesetting
Hydrangea and Holly Tablescape

My holiday table is inspired by the hydrangea in my backyard. I was able to cut the hydrangea before it matured and turned brown.

White Hydrangea Bush
White Hydrangea

The hydrangea in the tablescape came from a white hydrangea bush.  It dried this beautiful shade of green that blends well with my dining room wall color and the tabletop tree and so the hydrangea became my theme for the tablescape.

Dried Hydrangea
White Hydrangea Turned Green When Dried

How to Get the Custom Curated Look

The key to achieving a custom-designed tablescape is to strategically plan the look and make it cohesive. This can be done by first choosing a theme and color scheme for the table. I find, once I have selected a theme, it keeps me focused in the tablescape creation.

In this tablesetting, I have chosen a somewhat casual, relaxed theme that focuses on elements from my garden. Because, the hydrangea has turned a pretty shade of green, I have chosen the neutral green as my main color supported by gold, ivory, and white accents.

Holiday Tablesetting with Hydrangea, Holly, Boxwood, and Gold Trees
Hydrangea and Holly Tablescape

Before I buy anything for a tablesetting, and to achieve a tablescape that looks curated and custom made, I start by looking around the house to see what I already own or have available in the garden or backyard that can be incorporated into the tablescape. Nothing new was purchased for this tablesetting. I have had the gold trees and baubles for years and re-purpose them to wherever I need them each Christmas. Integrating items you already own creates a curated look, makes the setting more personal and, of course, it’s more economical.

Gold-colored glittery tree
Gold-colored tree and soft green dried hydrangea form Christmas tablescape

Create the Tablescape Before Arranging Placesettings

When constructing a tablescape, piece by piece, directly on the table, I recommend starting with an unset table. You don’t want to be touching glassware with your arm and potentially knocking glasses over, causing breakage, as you try to reach into the center of the table to place items in the tablescape. Also, if there are pine or fir needles (fresh or faux), glitter, etc., involved, those will inevitably find their way on to plates and napkins and into glasses and, well, that’s just not the kind of garnish guests want to see in or on their food and drink! It’s just awkward to try and create a tablescape amidst placesettings. If you need to have parameters set for the spacing of the tablescape itself, I suggest setting the charger plates at each placesetting as markers. These can then be cleaned before the actual plates to be used for food are added.

Top-down view of Hydrangea and Holly Tablescape
Hydrangea and Holly Tablescape

Sometimes, I leave the table bare and other times I use a tablecloth such as the vintage Irish linen white tablecloth I have used in this setting. I find the white makes a great canvas for the elements of the tablescape to stand out.

One of the most important factors to consider when constructing a tablescape is its height. For the comfort of guests, and to enable them to communicate across the table during the meal, keep the height of the tablescape below the eyeline of seated guests.

For this tablescape, I started with a couple of good quality large faux greenery piks placed end-to-end in the center of the table. This provided the anchor base and shape, added depth and fullness, and also dictated the general size and expanse of the tablescape.

Faux Greenery Piks for Tablescape
Base of Artificial Greenery for Holiday Tablescape

Next, I used an odd number of the focal point items – in this case, the three gold trees – and positioned them into place.

Adding gold-colored trees to a tablescape
Constructing the holiday tablescape piece by piece

From there, I took the hydrangea and placed it in, around, and throughout the tablescape. There is no need to be overly fussy about keeping the hydrangea placement perfectly symmetrical. Instead, work on the flow, movement, and keeping the look natural.

Creating a holiday tablescape with faux greenery, dried hydrangea, and gold-colored trees
Adding the dried hydrangea to the tablescape

Any place where I noticed gaps, I filled in with some greenery. Either fresh or faux greenery can be used. I chose freshly cut boxwood and holly from the bushes along my walkway. I opted to use just branches of holly that had no berries as there was no red connection to the tablescape and the leaves of the holly tree have such a lovely shape. Every time I step out my front door, I marvel at the stunning beauty of the holly bushes, particularly after a fresh snowfall.

Snow on Holly Berries
Holly Berries and Leaves

I find, when creating a tablescape consisting primarily of flowers or foliage, it is best to limit the number of different kinds used. A general rule of thumb is to choose one signature flower (in this case, the hydrangea) and use a significant amount of it. This allows it to make a statement without competing with a number of other varieties of flowers. Using the boxwood and holly leaves, which are darker shades than the hydrangea, gives depth to the tablescape and also contributes to the seasonal look.

Some Christmas balls/baubles in light colors were added to inject some brightness into the tablescape and the metallics, of course, add texture, shape, and interest.

Christmas Baubles
Christmas Baubles Add Texture and Interest to Tablescape

I added some ribbon here and there to connect the tablescape to the ribbon on the tabletop tree in the dining room, thus keeping the look cohesive and coordinated.

Wire-edged gold and ivory ribbon bows
Pretty Ivory and Gold Ribbon Bows
Flocked Tabletop Tree
Tabletop Tree in Dining Room Coordinates with Tablescape

Because the hydrangea is tinder dry, I don’t want any open flame from candles on the table so have opted for battery lit gold glittery votives to give a warm glow and sparkle. A string of battery-operated twinkle lights with fine gold wire is strung throughout the arrangement to give a magical ambience to the table, particularly for evening dining.

Gold trees, dried hydrangea, and holly leaves form a neutral holiday tablesetting
Hydrangea and Holly Christmas Tablescape

Some brightly wrapped parcels in gold and white were placed, kitty-corner, on opposite ends of the table, adding a festive and glitzy look.

Gold and white gift-wrapped packages
Gold and White Wrapped Gifts
Gold-wrapped Parcels
Gifts wrapped in gold foil paper add glitz to a holiday table

Placesettings

Placesetting of white plate on gold charger plate
Placesetting for Hydrangea and Holly Tablesetting

This neutral, nature-inspired tablescape is versatile enough that it will coordinate well with a number of different dinnerware choices. Here, I have set the table with plain white dinnerware (my all-time favorite!) but the tablescape will go equally well with my formal china that has enough green and gold in it to match. It will also work with my red and green plaid casual dinnerware and it would also complement my green and white vintage dishes. It’s always great when this can happen as it extends the use of the tablescape over the holiday period and the table’s look can be changed by simply switching out the dinnerware, napkins, and glassware.

I am a big fan of charger plates not only because I think they dress up a table and frame each placesetting but also because they serve the practical purpose of protecting the table linen from stains should any food find its way off a plate (it happens). The basic white dinnerware atop simple gold chargers is always elegant and sophisticated, goes with anything, and food colors pop against a white plate.

I have chosen to use white napkins with a glittery gold snowflake motif. Apart from contributing a soft textile texture to the table, the napkins connect to the gold in the tablescape and to the charger plates, again maintaining a cohesive and sophisticated look. In order to best show the motif, I have purposely used a simple flat napkin fold.

Gold Snowflake Motif on White Napkin
Snowflake Napkin

The placesettings reflect the order in which the meal will be served. In this case, the two plates and cutlery placement indicate there is a salad course followed by the main entrée. Stacking the plates gives a layered look that adds visual depth and fullness to placesettings. I have chosen glassware with lots of cut glass so that it will reflect the light and add dazzle to the table.

Gold and white placesetting
Stacking Plates Gives Placesetting a Layered and Full Look

Setting a well-styled holiday table need not cost a lot of money. In this case, the use of free foraged natural products collected from my garden and yard provides a connection to nature and creates a neutral, yet festive tablescape.

Christmas Tablesetting in shades of green and gold
Hydrangea and Holly Tablesetting

 

To view other Christmas-themed tablesettings from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting
Snowmen and Snowballs Tablesetting
The Christmas Rose Tablesetting
Blush Pink Holiday Tablesetting
The Christmas Greens Holiday Tablesetting
Just Hear Those Sleigh Bells Jinglin’ Tablesetting
Twas The Night Before Christmas Tablesetting
The Warmth of the Christmas Light Tablesetting
A Tartan Holiday Tablesetting
Pretty Poincettia Tablesetting
Poinsettia Trio Tablesetting
The Holiday Table
The Pink and Green Holiday Table
Purple Tablesetting for the Holidays
Christmas at My Island Bistro Kitchen
Christmas Eve Tablesetting and Dinner
Cupcake Tablescape
Evergreens and Reindeer Christmas Tablescape

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Decadent Dream Square Recipe

A slice of Dream Square with a cup of tea
Decadent Dream Square

Always a favorite, this three-part square (shortbread base, topping, and icing), known simply as “Dream Square”, is a treat! Sometimes referred to as a vintage or retro square, I’m not sure it has ever been “shelved” long enough in history to put it in that category! This is a square that is, in my view, perennially in vogue. Continue reading Decadent Dream Square Recipe

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Quick Bread studded with cranberries, mixed peel, pecans, and orange zest
Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf

I call this quick bread the loaf with Christmas wrapped inside it! That’s because this Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf encompasses many of the flavors we typically associate with Christmas – the bright red cranberries, eggnog, warm spices of nutmeg, mace, and cardamom, citrus notes that come from orange marmalade, juice, and orange rind, mixed peel/citron, and pecans. It’s the perfect loaf for weekend brunch, coffee or tea break, or gift giving. Continue reading Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf Recipe

(Mostly) PEI and Maritime Food – Good Food for a Good Life!