Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mary's Basic Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Homey and healing chicken noodle soup, made with a homemade stock from a whole chicken and fresh veggies.
Homey and healing chicken noodle soup, made with a homemade stock from a whole chicken and fresh veggies.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

I was feeling a bit under the weather this weekend so I decided to put on a pot of chicken noodle soup. Funny thing about this stuff ... I can get a pot going, leave it warming on the stove along side a pot of cooked egg noodles, snatch a cup of it several times throughout the day and feel all better before nightfall. Often referred to as "Jewish Penicillin" for its known powers of healing, it really does work and that's not just an old wives tale either!

Not only do the steam and warmth of the soup help with nasal congestion, but the chicken itself and all of the seasonings typically used - garlic, onion, & ginger to name a few - are known to have certain anti-inflammatory properties that appear to offer some real respiratory benefits too, according to a University of Nebraska Medical Center study.

Plus, I don't care who ya are... it's just a darned good comfort food for when you aren't feeling well.

Make it even easier using leftover roasted or cooked chicken. Somewhere between 2 to 4 cups of chopped up chicken is good but do use both white and dark meat. I would avoid using only boneless, skinless chicken breast along though, because it has a tendency to get overly dry and quite tasteless. A whole hen or chicken is the best bet for homemade. To make it creamy, add in a homemade blonde roux or 1 to 2 cans of cream of chicken soup.

Now, if only I could convince my husband that he can make it too and then serve me. On a tray. In bed. While I don't have to worry over anything but where the remote is.

Starting to get in the mood for soup yourself? You can try my homemade beef veggie soup, or my favorite hamburger soup, or just go and look over all my soups, stews and gumbos.

Recipe: Mary's Basic Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 2 hours 30 min
Total time: 2 hours 45 min

Yield: About 8 to 10 servings


For the Homemade Stock:
  • 1 (3 pound) whole chicken
  • Water just to cover (or use stock for richer flavor)
  • 2 large pinches of kosher salt
  • 1 celery rib with leaves, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large carrot, cut into large chunks
  • 1 medium onion quartered
  • 1 large bay leaf
For the Soup:
  • 8 cups of reserved homemade stock, or 2 (32 ounce) cartons of chicken stock/broth
  • 1 tablespoon of chicken base (like Better Than Bouillon), optional
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, halved lengthwise & sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 parsnip, chopped, optional
  • 1/2 of a large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of diced fresh ginger, optional
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Large handful of frozen peas
  • Large handful of frozen corn
  • Optional veggies: mushrooms, diced potato, diced turnip, chopped leeks, sliced scallions, green beans, etc.
  • 2 tablespoons of dried parsley, plus additional for garnish
  • Cooked egg noodles or cooked rice

Cut up chicken coarsely, splitting back and breasts. Place the cut up chicken in a tall stockpot, add the water or chicken stock only to cover chicken plus about an inch. Cover pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat, remove the lid and simmer uncovered, skimming off any foam that accumulates. When foam subsides, add the salt, celery, carrot, onion, and bay leaf. Cook, uncovered, at a steady, slow simmer for about 2 hours.

Strain, but reserve the broth. Discard the vegetables. Put the broth back into the stockpot and set the chicken aside to cool. To the stock, add in the chicken base, garlic, celery, carrot, parsnip, onion and ginger. Sprinkle in thyme and pepper. Allow to low simmer until vegetables are tender.

When cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and bones from the chicken. Tear the chicken into bite size pieces and add back to broth. Add the peas and corn, and any additional veggies you like; add parsley and simmer until tender. I prefer to cook the noodles or rice separate from the soup itself so that the noodles do not absorb most of the soup broth.

Spoon cooked noodles or rice into a serving bowl and ladle the soup on top. Sprinkle each serving with a bit of additional parsley.

Cook's Notes: You can use a variety of chicken parts that you've saved up for this (wings, backs, etc.), however, you'll want some additional chicken to add to the soup since the parts have done their job! Throw a few chicken thighs in the pot along with the parts - they give off a great flavor to the soup. Avoid boneless, skinless chicken breast however, as it lacks flavor and tends to overcook and be too dry. Save those for a shortcut version. The chicken base is optional if you're making homemade stock, but I like the richness that it gives to soup. If you use the base, you will not likely need to add any additional salt to the soup. If you don't use the base, you may need to salt. Either way, be sure to taste it before adding salt.

Shortcut it! Omit the homemade stock and substitute a combination of water and commercial chicken stock or broth to equal 8 cups. I recommend Kitchen Basics stock, but also adding the chicken base. Proceed with the recipe as above, simmering the vegetables first and then adding in 2 cups of chopped cooked chicken. A deli roasted chicken stands in well, however, take into account the salt when you are not preparing the chicken yourself.

Tip: If you are making this ahead and have time, you may also let the broth cool and refrigerate. Once well chilled, the fat will rise to the surface and harden and you can easily scoop it off. Freezes great, but do not freeze with the noodles! Just make fresh noodles when you reheat it.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Variation: To make a creamy version, prepare a skillet of blonde roux of 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of flour. Cook and stir that for 3 minutes, then slowly add in several ladles of the broth from the soup, until it forms a gravy. Transfer to the soup pot. May also add in 1 or 2 cans of cream of chicken soup near the end of cooking. Stir in until blended well and heated through, then add in the chicken, peas, corn and parsley to the pot.

Tuscan-Style Chicken Noodle Soup: Add 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper with the onion and 2 tablespoons chopped, reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes with 2 cups of fresh baby spinach leaves when you add the chicken. Swap parsley for commercial Tuscan seasoning, or a mix of marjoram, basil, thyme and rosemary with dried red pepper flakes.


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©Deep South Dish
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Health Benefit Source: CNN Health

Posted by on September 20, 2009
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  1. Yes, it works, I have made it lots of times for other people plus myself. Yummy too. Thanks for reminding me to make a pot of it. The weather is getting more like fall which is great for soups. Antique Rose

    Hope you are all better too!! :-)

  2. Hi Antique Rose! Though I LOVE the Greatma too. You are so right - good ole chicken noodle, can't beat it! And yes, I'm feeling much better already.

    1. Mary, this is my trick that makes a wonderful and richly chickeny broth------I cook chicken in my electric pressure cooker with a spoon of Better Than Boullion. In just a few minutes I get this incredibly flavored broth. And I go from there. I can't believe what good broth that makes. A real treasure.

    2. I have one of those too & have been doing that lately myself! It isn't quite the same as slow stewing on the stovetop but it really does make an excellent (and super easy) broth and soup doesn't it? I just got that Power PC XL cooker and although I think it's gonna take some getting used to because of the preprogrammed buttons, I'm anxious to give it a spin.

  3. Sounds wonderful. Can't wait to try it.

  4. Man I love me some chicken soup. Chicken noodle, chicken torilla, chicken and rice..

    Hope you still feel well today.


  5. I LOVE homemade chicken soup, especially when I'm feeling sick. It really is the perfect comfort food!

  6. Wow...that sounds like a lot of work when you are under the weather, gal!

    I just open a can of Progresso Chicken & Noodle soup and go back to bed myself...

    Hopefully I'll do better this winter as I took the flu shot.

    It would be a good recipe to make for others that are sick and to enjoy yourself to ward it off...LOL!

  7. Thanks Thena, Mya, Tracey, & Sherri!

    Oh Tammy, I did do the Progresso route on Saturday & I actually do love their soups, but it's just not the same. Actually it's not really that much work - it throws together pretty quick and the rest is just simmering.

    This is a great recipe to make for family and friends!

  8. Mmm, this looks so yummy. I'm looking forward to 'soup weather' soon!

  9. I like your addition of ginger. I will have to make this next time we all feel poopy!

  10. Mary, I now know who to contact for some soothing chicken soup whenever I get sick or feeling a little under the weather! I've never, ever made home-made chicken soup....made homemade tortellini in chicken broth, but not home-made chicken soup! How special and full of LOVE this soup must be! Blessings, Roz

  11. I love homemade chicken noodles. If I really gen ambitious... I'll make homemade noodles, too! My Grandma taught me how :)

  12. I've never added ginger to my classic chicken soup. I bet it's a great addition.

  13. Perfect! Homemade Chicken Noodle soup is one of my favorite things ever. And I TOTALLY believe in its healing properties! :D

  14. Hope you're feeling better Mary. Looking at this soup, it had to do a lot of good!

  15. love chicken soup, yours is much healthier than mine, your chicken stock recipe sounds great ill bookmark it for sure. thanks for stopping by...

  16. OHH - it looks so good and sounds so good - and it is raining here. I want a machine that makes the pictures come to life and then I would have some on my desk right here!

    Stopping by from SITS

  17. hi is the perfect soup, but I wish you had a sure fire way to get hubby to make it when I'm sick!

  18. Hey Mary, sorry you've been feeling bad :( It took the pros all these years to figure out grandma was right! Never tried adding ginger, sounds interesting. Hoping you are up to speed PDQ! ♥

  19. Now that looks delish! I can't wait for it too cool off here in AZ so I can start making soup. It's still 100 degrees. I love a good chicken noodle soup!

  20. Good old chicken noodle soup is my favorite for cool weather, or for days when I'm under the weather! Yours looks delish!
    Hope you are feeling better by now, Mary. :)

  21. Hiya Mary:)
    Your blog is delightful! I'm a recipe freak...thanks for the fix.

    I especially love the quote about wrinkles...I think I'll get my banana pudding on....LOL

  22. I am looking for a creamy chicken tortilla soup that is more of a cheese base than a tomato base.

    1. Hi Patty! I replied on the other post but check out this Tortilla Soup to see if it's what you are looking for.

  23. i am on high blood pressure pills - and my brother has educated me to know that 'just opening a can of,,,; any canned soup contains high levels of sodium: fast and easy way to having high blood pressure. i am now re-learning how-to cook, reminding myself that i was healthy eating garden-to-table living with my Grandparents as a child/teen. thank you for the recipes!

    1. Home cooking is always the best of course - you can control the ingredients - but fortunately, there are some soups, and other canned products, that are lower sodium these days, but yes I don't know if I've become more sensitive to it, but I sure do taste the higher salt levels in many canned & packaged foods!

  24. Chicken noodle soup is so easy and SO good. It's a shame more folks don't make it. I have a "quickie" recipe that I should share with you, but I'll bet you already do it lol.

    Anyway, my daughter LOVES Campbell's cream of chicken soup (I do too lol). I also looked at your chicken pot pie soup recipe. Do you think it would be similar if I used the blonde roux above AND some of the cream like you add to your chicken pot pie soup, or just do one or the other?


  25. I love your idea of sipping all day from a pot kept heating on the stovetop, with a pot of cooked noodles next to it, but how do you keep your noodles from "over" cooking, Don't they turn to mush? Can't wait to try your recipe adding the base and the ginger sounds so yummy.

    1. Oh no, I cook them for the first serving, drain, butter and then toss them back in the pot, but not on the heat, cover and they're ready for when I want the next bowl!

  26. I like your analogy of chicken noodle soup as being "Jewish Penicillin”. That is so true. It was the first soup that I learned how to cook. Both my mom and grandmother made pretty good chicken noodle soup. Unfortunately neither of them cooked the noodles separately. I learned that by experimentation in my teens. Mom made several attempts at making matzo ball soup. They didn’t end well. Suffice it to say, if they were just a tad smaller, they’d have worked very nicely in my old Springfield Musket.
    God bless.

    1. I can't take credit for that analogy Chris - chicken soup has been referred to as that way before me. I think everybody ought to learn how to make it from scratch! I've never tried adding matzo balls but I'd probably have the same experience lol!!

  27. OK - if you got those other two comments you can delete them - my system is acting up and they were sent incomplete.
    Got to send you a giant "thank you, Ma'am" for this idea of adding ginger to the soup. Love it. Added the peelings of it to the stock, too. Grabbed the idea for adding fresh dill from Ina Garten recipe, and the idea to add a couple whole cloves from DD.
    Finally got over my fear of my Christmas present, an All-American pressure canner (I forgot to tell Hubby what size, he bought the big one! Ain't that just like a man? Love him to pieces, but it scared me!) and have pressure cooked two canners full of the most scrumptious stock using this recipe as a start. De-fatted it in the fridge, now am pressure canning the stock, and using this stock to can chicken and chicken soup. Am wondering if you ever do much pressure cooking of the stock, or do you prefer to "set it on the back burner and forget it."
    On the 2nd batch, someone talked me into putting chicken feet in it. Have you ever used chicken feet? Can't decide what I think of it. Sure does gel well. The devil in me says to throw a Halloween party and serve some soup with them floating in there...folks would probably leave...creepy looking thangs.

    1. I don't pressure can anything - scared to death of those still!! I do freeze things that you would normally pressure can. As to stocks, I've done the pressure cooker and it's pretty good though I still like the simmer half the day on the stove version better.

      LOL on the chicken feet!! I've tried to buy them before to add to stocks but they freak my husband out too!

  28. Meant to add, everyone in my family has high blood pressure, so the salt in commercial canned soups is a problem for us all. But it's mostly there for flavor and isn't necessary to the canning process. I make Mary's recipe and freeze to control the sodium and salt levels. Frozen foods have recently gotten a bad rep lately, but they are excellent when you're sick. This makes a lot of soup. And because Hubby is wonderful, but he can't cook when I'm sick. Or when I'm well! I'm canning because our freezers are maxed out. Been scared to try it, but wanting to try it for a very long time.

    1. I'm trying to work my way through my deep freeze too! Beginning of the week, I go and grab a handful of things and then figure out what to do with them as they thaw. How's that for meal planning lol!

      I far prefer homemade soups, even ones that are frozen, over commercial soups. I buy them to have on hand, but to be honest, I haven't opened a can of soup in a very long time that I wasn't automatically disappointed in. Homemade is the best hands down! Can you imagine, canned is the only thing some people have ever eaten??!!


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