September 04, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

I feel as though I should start this post with a confession: I cannot stand Chicken Noodle Soup.  I'm not sure why, (it may have something to do with the numerous cans of Chicken and Stars that I ate as a kid to get a free Campbells Soup mug...), but I just cannot stand it.  Since moving "up north" to New Jersey 7 years ago, I have developed more of a taste for soups in general, but Chicken Noodle is something I just cannot stomach.

That being said, I do believe in its ability to cure colds.

Which is why I found myself, at 9 o'clock last night, offering homemade Chicken Noodle soup to my husband... then scrambling to come up with a recipe.  My first instinct was to call my mom, and ask for her guidance.   Then, I searched the internet, to round out my research.  I'm not sure why I was so paranoid about finding just the right recipe... it's not like someone would publish their recipe as, "The Best Chicken Noodle Soup Ever, 100% Guaranteed to Cure Colds and Taste Incredible", but nonetheless, I looked.  I found what I was looking for courtesy of and Tyler Florence.* Thankfully, I had all of the ingredients on hand, minus the turnip he suggested for use in making the stock.  I will share my adaptations of his recipe, you can find the link to the original recipes below.

I followed a two-step process, much like I did the other day when I made the Mexican Shredded Chicken for my burritos.

First, I cooked the chicken, and made some stock.

Chicken Stock

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (what I had)
Handful of baby carrots
2 celery stalks, cut into large pieces
1 large yellow onion, quartered
4 cloves of garlic, halved
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. ground thyme
1 tsp. whole black peppercorn

First, I cut the vegetables and added them, along with the spices and chicken breasts, to a large stockpot. Then, I added 2 1/2 cups of cold water, (enough to cover the chicken and vegetables), and set the burner to medium-low, allowing it to simmer, covered, for one hour.

Then, I removed the chicken from the pot and shredded it in a separate bowl.

Next, I separated out the vegetable pieces from the broth, and set the broth aside.  Now, since I used chicken breasts, and only needed a small amount of water to cook, I only ended up with 2 1/2 cups of stock.  Tyler ended up with 2 quarts of stock... he used a whole chicken.  If I ever make Chicken Noodle Soup again, I will plan on using a whole chicken and making more stock so that I do not need to add canned broth to it.  The homemade stock has such a fuller, richer flavor...

Once the stock was made, I was ready for part two... actually making the soup.

Chicken Noodle Soup

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Handful of baby carrots, cut into thirds
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and then chopped
3/4 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. white pepper, (the magic ingredient)
2 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock, plus 2 cans low-sodium chicken broth, (see above)
Whole wheat egg noodles
Shredded chicken, (see above)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Add oil to bottom of large stockpot.  Add onion, celery, carrots, and spices.  Cook, stirring occasionally, on medium heat until the veggies are softened.  Pour in chicken stock.  Add shredded chicken.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I cooked my noodles separately, then added them to the soup because I was unsure how my noodle-to-broth ratio was going to work out.

At a few different points, I did taste-test the broth, the veggies and the chicken to make sure that I was doing it right.  I have to say, it tasted really good... I packed it up for my husband who had it for lunch today.  He loved it, and said that it made him feel better.  Hopefully after finishing off the whole pot, his cold will be gone!!

*You can find Tyler's original Chicken Noodle Soup and Chicken Stock recipes here, courtesy of

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