Pretty basic, but one of my favorite things to make when home all day. Makes the house smell amazing and makes delicious lunches for a few days after.
This is also one of those recipes that takes me back to being a kid. Chicken Noodle Soup is one of my dad’s most favorite things to eat once the weather turns cold and will forever take me back to my mom’s kitchen after hanging outside with dad, playing in the leaves and winterizing the yard on one of those fall days where the clouds move a million miles and hour and your cheeks get all red from being outside in the wind all day. She used to make it with cornbread. I prefer crusty bread, now.
This isn’t my mom’s recipe, I stepped it up a little bit from the simple put it all in a pot and boil the hell out if method mom used, but only to the extreme benefit of the soup. I’m not knocking mom in the kitchen, but she hales from an entirely different school of cookery than me, to be expected.
This takes about 20 minutes to get onto the stove and about 3-4 hours to cook. This is another thing that can work really well in the slow cooker, start it on the stove and move it over to finish. I used boxed chicken stock…again. There is a series of stock posts brewing as soon as I open up enough space in my freezer, or get another freezer more than likely, to store them. Hart has kindly given me the gigantic stock pot he used to use to brew in that is perfect for making some big batches of stock. I kind of hate that I buy something so easy to make at the store and am going to fix that, not to mention it just plain tastes better with homemade stock. But until then, boxed. Oh, and if you happen to have a gently used freezer you are want to part with hit me up.
There are a few very simple rules to a hearty, chicken noodle soup.
Rule #1 The Chicken. The recipe calls for a whole chicken, cut up into parts. This sounds much more difficult than it is, honestly. Check out the prices next time you are at the store. You can buy a whole chicken for generally under $1/pound. You can buy a “whole” chicken worth of parts for around $1.35/…except it isn’t whole. Its 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 breasts, no wings or drummettes; those are part of a whole chicken and I paid more for it. I’ll show you how to cut it up easily in the recipe.
Cost is one thing, but I prefer the whole chicken mainly because all those parts go in and fortify the stock you are already adding, this is very good for your soup. You can use random, not whole parts, I also am preferential to all dark meat in soups so I’ve been known to just toss in a package of thighs, but make sure they are on the bone with skin.
Rule #2 Always use a stock, homemade or boxed. Avoid broths, they get saltier when reduced. Bullion? I shudder at the thought.
Rule #2 Cook the noodles separately…well, unless you like that weird mushy noodle thing that Campbells has going on, in that case you probably don’t want to make your own soup anyway. The noodles suck up all the juice! They also will thicken the stock and give a weird consistency. Boil them separately according to package directions and cool. To reheat the noodles pour hot soup over them.
Rule #3 Choose the proper noodle. Any kind of noodle that you would pour tomato sauce over is not the proper noodle. My first, and only, choice are Kluski Noodles.
They are a dense egg noodle that is perfect in broth soups. They are also delicious with butter, parmesan cheese, shallots and peas…but thats another dish.
If you prefer a thinner noodle the thin, yellow egg noodles, like the kind that would be used in halushki, are also acceptable. I guess.
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 whole Chicken
- 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 large Spanish Onion, medium dice
- 4 stalks Celery, medium dice
- 1# Carrots, either the baby ones or cut into large coins
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
- 2 each Bay Leaves
- 2 tsp Dried Thyme
- 3 – 32oz boxes Chicken Stock
- 1# Noodles, cooked according to pkg instructions & cooled
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot, add the cut vegetables, bay leaves and thyme, season with salt & pepper and saute over medium heat until the onions are tender and the garlic smells sweet.
While the vegetables are cooking get the chicken cut up. I use both a boning and French knife to do the butchery.
Rinse the whole bird, pat dry & remove the gizzards. Use your hands to break the joint at the wing and breast and use the boning knife to remove both the wings, set aside. Use the tip of the boning knife, up against one side of the breast bone in the center of the breasts, to cut through the breast meat and down to the rib cage. Use the french knife to cut through the rib cage, you will meet some resistance, but chicken bones cut through relatively easily. When you are through the breast open the bird with your hands to get easier access to the spine. Put the tip of your knife to one side of the spine at the neck and bring the knife down to cut the bird in half, cutting the chicken in half. Use the same method and remove the spine from the other half; I save it to throw in the soup & remove when its done.
Grab the chicken thigh/leg piece and pop the join that connects it to the bird. Use the boning knife to remove the leg pieces from the breasts. Break the joint that connects the thigh & leg, break that by hand and cut through with the boning knife, separating them. What you are left with should be 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 bone-in breasts, 2 whole wings.
By the time you are done with the chicken the vegetables should be ready to go. Layer the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables in an even layer.
Pour the stock over the chicken and bring to a simmer. You want to make sure the soup doesn’t boil hard, a nice gentle simmer.
When it simmers drop the heat and off-set a lid on it. Check back every once in awhile and give it a stir, but all thats left now is to wait it out.
When you see the chicken start falling off the bone use a slotted spoon to remove it from the broth and onto a platter. Pick through really well, make sure you get all the bone & skin pieces out. Also fish out the bay leaves…those are not delicious. I put on my noodle water around nowish, too.
Use tongs and a fork to shred the chicken off the bone and remove the skin. The bone will be fragile. Be thorough and make sure you get out all the little pieces. No leaving death bones in the soup. Thats bad.
Add the shredded chicken back into the soup – watch as you’re putting it back in to make sure you didn’t miss any bones or cartilage pieces. Bring soup to a simmer and season with more salt, pepper, hot sauce.
Pour the hot soup over cooked noodles and enjoy with crusty bread and butter.
Another option? Well truth be told my purpose for making this was two-fold. My friend Becky somehow caught herself a case of the plague so I made her up a care package of the soup, all divvied out in separate containers of broth, good stuff & noodles to help get her back on her feet. She also got a little tub of pudding because that shit? If it can’t cure what ails you it will at the very least make you suffer with a smile. So I shared the wealth. I tell you that to tell you this – Packaging like this is a great way to freeze. No need to separate it out the way I did, that was because Becky was sick, but in the pound sized containers its a really convenient quick dinner later.
Wicked happy to have the leftovers on a damp dreary day like today :)