Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

How To Winterize A Minnesotan: Home Made Chicken Noodle Soup


Here in Minnesota, when the weather starts to turn, and the temperatures fall to subzero levels, we the faithful remnant, who call Minnesota our home, have to partake in an annual ritual known as, “winterizing the house“. Now when winterizing the house, we do such things as adding more insulation in the attic to prevent any heat from escaping. We blow out sprinkler lines and insulate outdoor water faucets to prevent water freezing in the lines and bursting pipes. Some people do the bare minimum to winterize a house and other folks go a few extra steps towards convincing victory, under the flag of reason – better to be safe than sorry.

We Patrons must also do the same in preparation for Minnesota’s wintry grilling season. As the temperatures drop and our bodies begin to acclimatize, we also must take the proper steps so we don’t lose that much coveted heat, or even worse…our pipes bursting. Now some Minnesotans do the bare minimum to prepare themselves for the winter months, but we Patrons of the Pit, we  will always take a few extra steps because as mentioned earlier, it is better to be safe rather than sorry. We think so anyways.

Here at the Pit the proper attire for keeping cozy in the frozen out-of-doors is like second nature. For we are both fans of winter camping and so long johns, hats, gloves and even our smoking jackets are never an understatement. We are a rare breed;  we take great delight in sitting beside our smoky pits, and as its chimney puffs away we might light up ones pipe and take in a good English tobacco. As the harsh winter winds slap sharp snowflakes across our face, we fill our trusted Stanley thermoses with our favorite hot drink, and sip away. As the temperature plummets past zero we begin to hug the hoods of our pits while a small camp fire may join us during a bitter cold smoking session, sharing in its efforts to keep us warm. Therefore, insulating the inside of our bodies after standing outside at our Pits during one of our famous blizzards is something we can always work on.  This weekend we started that process with Homemade Chicken Soup.


  • 1 (3 pound) whole chicken
  • 4 carrots, halved
  • 4 stalks celery, halved
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Water to cover
  • Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules (optional)
  • Desired amount of Egg Noodles
  • Desired amount of Wild Rice

Put the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, in a large soup pot and cover with cold water. Heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken meat falls off of the bones (skim off foam every so often).

Take everything out of the pot. Strain the broth. Pick the meat off of the bones and chop the carrots, celery and onion. Season the broth with salt, pepper, chicken bouillon and Garlic Powder to taste, if desired. We added a can of Cream Of Chicken Soup to thicken the broth up a little. Return the chicken, carrots, celery and onion to the pot and stir together. At this time also add the noodles and wild rice. Cook until Noodles and Wild Rice become soft and serve.

There is nothing better than dumping hot soup down one’s gullet and bringing a sudden rush of warmth to our bodies, thus beginning the process of acclimatizing our bodies from the inside out.  Over the next few months, we might surprise the blog world with recipes for keeping one’s self warm and well insulated. So, let the process of winterizing begin.


“Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite.”

Auguste Escoffier

20 responses

  1. The fine people of Minnesota really know how to winterize, out of necessity of course. You are so right, a hot bowl of chicken soup does the trick every time, I will also include hot chocolate and hot toddy’s as great winterizers. I love grilling in the winter!!

    November 12, 2013 at 10:20 am

  2. Ohhhh… Hot Toddy’s! That’s like Anti-freeze!

    November 12, 2013 at 10:57 am

  3. That looks great! hanks for sharing this.

    November 12, 2013 at 11:06 am

  4. debbeedoodles

    I am making chicken noodle soup this week too. It’s time for winter I guess… 😉

    November 12, 2013 at 11:11 am

  5. There’s nothing like a steaming hot bowl of chicken and vegetable soup. I prefer to add dumplings instead of noodles and rice. It is still stick to the ribs goodness!

    November 12, 2013 at 11:20 am

    • I love dumplings. That’s something I’d like to get better at this winter!

      November 12, 2013 at 11:35 am

  6. LOVE soup and crackers, well, I guess I just plain `ole love food! 🙂

    November 12, 2013 at 11:48 am

  7. Yea, we are guilty of that too!

    November 12, 2013 at 11:48 am

  8. My mom used to make chicken and dumplings, using roasting hens, which she swore had far more flavor that young fryers. But a funny thing happened. Roasting hens disappeared from the retail market years ago. What they’re used for now, I don’t have the slightest.

    November 12, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    • Some of the Co-ops around here will get you those game hens, but they are rare. That sounds good!

      November 13, 2013 at 9:23 am

  9. Liz

    If making chicken noodle soup (of which yours looks fabulous, btw) is considered “winterizing,” then sign me up. Always a favorite when the temperatures drop. Have been on a bit of a soup kick myself lately. Just today, am roasting beef bones which will go into stock. Been thinking about what kind of soup to make with it–any suggestions? Thinking pho as my daughters had some over the weekend and fell head over heels. But you could give me a man’s point of view on this. My husband would be happy with a hamburger soup, but can’t get excited about that. Beef noodle? What say you?

    November 12, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    • Liz, I’m a huge fan of pho, but I don’t know anyone that can make it. haha.

      One of my favorite winter soups would be Chunky Tomato and Dill. I like to add just a few drops of Tabasco sauce to it. It’s amazing with Grilled Cheese. Another favorite of course is Beer Cheese Soup. One thing I have learned though, don’t make it with a dark hoppy beer, it’s makes the cheese taste very bitter. Like extra extra sour cheddar. Stick with a lite beer. I have learned that Shells is a good one.

      My comment to beef noodle is this. It has beef and we are Patrons of the Pit. Beef is an extension of our freezers. We buy into quarters of cows once a year. We would always favor a Beef Noodle soup!

      November 13, 2013 at 9:21 am

      • Liz

        yeah, the owner of the restaurant told me I probably couldn’t make pho at home. Which of course was a direct challenge to make it at home. Have yet to google, but figure I can at least make an approximation. I have the roasted bone stock anyway.

        Which. Came from the 1/4 of a cow my husband just brought home from his hometown up north! He has a high school friend who farms and we’ve bought from him for 12ish years. Husband also managed to snag a (not large) deer, so we’ll have venison, too.

        This comment is turning into lots of Qs, but wondering if you have local sources for poultry and pork. Would like to be buying these directly from farmers, too, but haven’t made any connections outside of the farmers’ markets.

        Appreciate the soup suggestions for sure. I think you should send me your chunky tomato dill soup recipe. Please? via facebook or you can follow through to my email from my biz site ( Though you have me convinced that beef noodle is the way to go. There are more bones to roast for another day.

        Oh, and yes, funny how the wrong beer can totally mess up an otherwise amazing dish. My lesson was that only stout works well with ice cream. Anything else ends up down the drain.

        November 13, 2013 at 10:45 am

    • Hi Liz, this is the other patron here, the one you’re used to talking to. We get our beef from French Lake Butcher Shop, in South Haven, MN. They are just the butcher. They get the meat, all grass fed, no hormone junk, from some local farm of which the name escapes me at the moment, but I can get it this weekend. Suffice to say it ts good. Real good. Both beef and pork can be had there.

      Another option, and maybe even better, that our friend just alerted us to yesterday is,

      They are just across the border in Wisconsin, and have wonderful, grass fed beef. And what is more and better yet, they apparently will deliver it to your door step. Now you can’t beat that! We’ll have to try it, I think, next time we need beef.

      As far as chicken, haven’t really found a great source for that yet. The best we’ve done is Von Hanson Meats, of which there is a string of across the cities I believe. All their chickens were raised clean and sure taste good!

      As to the soup recipe, you will have to wait on our fellow blog co-host to get back to you on that. I have no idea what he’s talking about.

      But check out that dancing oaks farm. I think that will solve your beef quandaries! Probably pork too.

      November 15, 2013 at 8:48 am

      • Liz

        you guys are so good I forget there are two of you! But of course it is not Patron of the Pit. Thanks for the suggestions. We’re good for beef with my husband’s friend, though will look into your pork recommend. And had never considered Von Hanson’s for chicken. Have one not to far from where I live (have been known to bike over for bacon) so will gladly give them a go.

        Will wait patiently for the tomato-dill soup recipe until your partner in grill pit crime returns. Thanks 🙂

        November 15, 2013 at 11:45 am

  10. Shit. Look how white your grass is :). We’re just about to get cracking into summer down here. Stay warm guys… And full.

    November 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm

  11. laurie27wsmith

    I hope you winterize *everything* we don’t want your pipes bursting. That soup sounds great, good idea putting a can of cream of chicken in. In winter here I put the camp oven on the wood stove and have a soup going, it doesn’t last long.

    November 13, 2013 at 2:40 am

    • That sounds like great ambiance and ambiance is the key to both of our pits!!

      November 13, 2013 at 8:20 am

  12. Cold winter morning and I see this picture! How I would love some soup in my gurgling tummy….Lovely post…will try it soon… can’t get enough of your posts…. yum yum…keep it up! Lots of foodie love from Texas! 😀 Oh, Happy New Year!

    January 10, 2014 at 10:45 am

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