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 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 reserved homemade stock, or 2 (32 ounce) cartons of chicken stock/broth
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base (like Better Than Bouillon {affil link}), optional
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise & sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 parsnip, chopped, optional
  • 1/2 of a large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons diced fresh ginger, optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Large handful frozen peas
  • Large handful frozen corn
  • Optional veggies: mushrooms, diced potato, diced turnip, chopped leeks, sliced scallions, green beans, etc.
  • 2 tablespoons 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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Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

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Mary's Favorite Hamburger Soup

Health Benefit Source: CNN Health

Posted by on September 20, 2009
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