Kristin from Dinnerdujour.org shares her homemade chicken noodle soup recipe: Most chicken noodle soups use wide egg noodles, but I like to use macaroni because it’s easier to scoop up with a spoon, especially for children. If you’re not feeling the best to begin with, you want the act of eating your soup to be as undemanding as possible.
If you’re feeling very organised, prep the soup vegetables when you make the stock and add the carrot peelings, celery leaves and onion and garlic skins to the stock pot. For a stock with an incredible golden colour, use a corn-fed chicken. Using my 5.3 litre Le Creuset pot, I get 1.5 litres of stock.
for the stock:
1 large whole chicken
3 carrots, scrubbed well but unpeeled and cut in half
3 celery stalks, cut in half (leaves included)
1 onion, unpeeled and quartered through the root end
1 head of garlic, cut in half around its middle to expose all the cloves
2 bay leaves
1 bunch of parsley
1 tablespoon salt
for the soup:
3 carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 celery stalks, cut in half lengthwise and finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 or 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
a few handfuls of cooked, shredded chicken
1.5 litres chicken stock
200 g macaroni (use more if you want a more substantial soup with less broth)
a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
crusty bread, to serve
To make the stock
Place the chicken in a large stockpot, one roomy enough to hold it and all the vegetables plus plenty of water. Add in all the remaining stock ingredients, then pour over enough cold water to cover the chicken. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil, then reduce it to a steady simmer and let it bubble away, covered, for 90 minutes to ensure the chicken gets fully cooked. Partially uncover the pot and continue to let it simmer for a further 30 to 60 minutes to let the stock reduce a bit and get a more concentrated flavour. Don’t be tempted to let the stock boil for more than 3 hours max or the texture of the chicken will get too mushy.
Preparing the Chicken
Remove the chicken from the pot onto a plate and allow it to cool enough that you can shred it. Strain the stock through a sieve into a large bowl, pressing on the vegetables with the back of a spoon to get as much liquid as possible out of them, then discard them.
If you’re making the stock ahead (or only making stock and not soup), cover the bowl with cling film and put it in the fridge overnight to allow the fat to congeal on the top, then skim it off. Otherwise, don’t worry about it — in fact, it’s said that the flu-fighting properties of chicken soup are in the fat anyway.
Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones and any other unsavoury bits. Dice or shred the remaining chicken. You’ll only need half of it for the soup, so save the rest for adding to pasta, stir-fries, salads, lentils, risotto, chicken salad sandwiches — you get the idea.
To make the Soup
To make the soup, place a pot over a medium-low heat and add a tablespoon or so of olive oil. When the oil is warm, add in the carrots, celery and onion along with a pinch of salt (to keep the onion from browning) and some pepper and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables have softened but not collared.
Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the chicken and stock and bring to the boil, then reduce to a lively simmer and add in the pasta. Cook for 10 or 15 minutes, until the pasta is cooked through.
Add in the parsley at the last minute and ladle the soup into bowls. Pass around plenty of crusty bread to mop up every last drop of nourishing stock. Serve steaming hot and feel better soon.
This recipe and more are available on Dinner Du Jour
Have you tried this homemade chicken soup recipe? Tell us how you got on in the comments below.