Happy New Year!! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays. My family and I had a lovely time Stateside. I intended to post from there but got busy catching up with friends and family, eating Chex mix and drinking red wine, and playing Scrabble. But now it’s back to London and after not cooking for over 2 weeks and everyone craving something homemade (and fighting off colds) homemade chicken soup is in order.
Homemade chicken noodle soup fits perfectly into those new year’s resolutions to eat healthy. It’s all fresh, whole foods – no processed ingredients. This is from-scratch chicken noodle soup like Grandma used to make.
I’m gonna be straight with you. It does take a bit of time – a 30-minute-meal it is not. But it involves minimal work; the majority of the time is broth simmering.
Start with a whole chicken. Put it in a large pot and add the flavorings for the stock: onion, carrots, celery, herbs, etc. Top off with water and simmer for a few hours. Strain out the solids, reserving the chicken and discarding the other solids (I first strain through a colander, then do a second strain through a mesh strainer).
Simmering for those two hours releases collagen for the bones which lends an incredible silkiness to the broth. It also causes the soup to become gelatinous (chicken soup jello??) once cooled. This can be off-putting to some, but once you reheat it, you once again have a lovely chicken noodle soup.
Back to soup making, once you have your strained broth back in the stockpot add your carrots and celery (diced, not the ones you used for the stock), once softened add noodles, then chicken and finally some parsley. Season with salt and pepper and you’ve got a genuine homemade meal. Grandma would be proud!
1 year ago: Hearty Minestrone Soup
Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup (8 servings)
Note: This makes a heartier soup, chock full of lots of chicken, noodles and veg. If you prefer a brothier soup, use only 1 carrot and 1 celery stalk. Also, if you have a chicken carcass left over from a roasting a chicken (or whatever you’ve used it for), use that instead of the whole chicken and just add 1 1/2 cups of shredded chicken left over from your roast or cook up a few breasts.
For the broth:
5 lb / 2.2 kg whole chicken – approximate, can be a bit smaller or larger
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, chopped into 1-2″/2.5-5cm pieces
2 celery stalks, chopped into 1-2″/2.5-5cm pieces
6 garlic cloves, peeled
3 handfuls fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, dill)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
3 quarts (3 liters) water
For the soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots, medium-diced
2 celery stalks, medium-diced
2 quarts (2 liters) stock – see recipe above
8 ounces (225 grams) egg noodles
1 1/2 cups (185 grams) shredded chicken
2 tablespoons minced parsley
To make the broth: Combine chicken, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, herbs, peppercorns, salt and water in a large stock/soup pot. If water does not cover chicken, use a deeper, less wide pot or cut the chicken into 3 or 4 pieces so that chicken is fully submerged. Bring to a boil then gently simmer uncovered for 2 hours. Remove chicken and place on a cutting board. Strain the remaining contents of the soup pot in a colander, reserving the liquid. You should have about 2 quarts (2 liters) of stock. If you have more than that, return stock to the pot along with the chicken and other solids; if you have less, add water until you have 2 quarts. Discard the solids, except for the chicken. Reserve stock in a bowl.
To make the soup: Heat olive oil over medium heat in the stock pot. Add diced carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 7 minutes, until softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the egg noodles and cook until soft; timing depends on brand and thickness (I used thin egg noodles that took 3 minutes, but others can take longer). Add chicken and cook until heated throughout, about 1-2 more minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.