It’s that time of the year again. No, I’m not talking about “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, I’m talking cold and flu season. We’ve already had a nasty bug roll through the house, and I’m hoping that we’re spared the others. No fun at all!
When the girls and I were under the weather, I decided to make up a big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup. Nothing tastes better on a sniffly, sulky day, than a big steamy bowl of chicken noodle soup…and I just can’t do the stuff in a can. It goes back to my innate fear of “meat in a can”. It just creeps me out, and the noodles are usually slimy, so I just make it myself.
Homemade chicken noodle soup may be a little more time consuming than popping the lid on a can, but it’s well worth the effort. It’s not difficult, just takes a little bit of love and time. Emily says that everything tastes better with a little love thrown in, and in this case, I definitely think she’s right.
I start by making the broth. This is the most time consuming part of the whole thing. Not difficult, but it does have to simmer for an hour once you get it rolling.
So, before the simmer, I put a 3-3/12 pound chicken snuggly into my soup pot. I added a stalk of celery, a carrot that I’d cut into large pieces, some onion, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. You can leave the veggies in large chunks because you’re going to strain this liquid and discard the veggies before continuing.
Once everything was in there, I added enough cold water to just cover the chicken.
I brought the mixture to a boil, skimmed off some of the foam from the broth, and then lowered the heat to low and covered the pot. The chicken and broth simmered for an hour.
When the hour had passed, I removed the chicken to a cutting board and let it cool for about ten minutes before I removed the meat from the bird. Then, I poured the broth and veggies through a strainer to remove those big carrot, celery and onion chunks.
I was left with wonderfully tender chicken, and a beautiful, flavor packed broth.
Once that was done, it was just a few steps more to soup.
I chopped up some onion, celery, and carrot, into smaller bits this time.
I brought the broth, vegetables and some chicken bouillon granules (For just a little more chicken punch!) to a boil on the stove. I reduced the heat, covered it and simmered the broth and veggies for about 15 minutes.
After that simmering time, I added my chicken and some medium, dried egg noodles to the pot. I gave it a good stir, brought that to a boil, and then lowered the heat and let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes more.
When it was ready, I scooped it into our bowls, threw a little more chopped parsley on top, sprinkled it with a little Parmesan, just for kicks, and fed it to my sniffly, sneezy family.
We all felt a little better after dinner that night. Our sniffles were subdued, our coughs were soothed, and our bellies were full. It’s magical stuff, I tell you…and you may never see the need to pop open a can of soup again.
CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
Adapted from Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook
- For the Broth:
- 1 3-3 1/2 lb. whole chicken, giblets and neck removed
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 medium stalk celery with leaves, cut up
- 1 carrot, cut up in large pieces
- 1 small onion, cut into wedges
- 1 sprig parsley
- 1 sprig fresh thyme (optional)
- cold water to cover
- For the Soup:
- Meat from the cooked chicken
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced (1 cup)
- 2 medium stalks celery, sliced (1 cup)
- 1 small onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
- 1 Tbsp. chicken bouillon granules
- 1-2 cups uncooked medium egg noodles
- chopped fresh parsley and grated parmesan, for serving (optional)
- Place the chicken in a large stockpot. Add the celery, carrot, onion, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover the chicken with cold water.
- Heat to boiling, skim the foam from the broth, reduce the heat to low.
- Cover, and simmer, for 1 hour.
- Remove the chicken from the broth. Cool the chicken for at least 10 minutes before removing the skin and bones. Set the chicken meat aside. Discard the skin and bones.
- Pour the broth through a strainer and discard the vegetables.
- Chop the chicken into 1/2 inch pieces. Skim the fat from the broth.
- Heat the broth, sliced carrots, celery, onion, and bouillon granules to boiling in a Dutch oven. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender.
- Stir in the prepared chicken and dry noodles. Heat to boiling, reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 7-10 minutes until noodles are tender.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese.