Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup

Yum

Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup
Your nose is red and raw from sneezing.  Your eyes are watery, and your throat hurts.  Blah.  It’s cold season, and it’s lousy.  Suddenly, your Mom appears, bringing in a mug full of hot, steaming chicken noodle soup.  You close your eyes and slurp in a slow, delicious bite.  And, somehow, you start to feel a little better.  There is nothing that says “comfort” quite like a fresh, steaming bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup.  When the weather is cold, and your nose is running, it feels like the blessing of 1,000 sweet Grandmas when a bowl of this steaming, fragrant goodness is placed before you.  And the best part?  It’s really easy to make, and you can freeze your leftovers for a quick meal anytime.  Sounds like a win/win to me.
What are we waiting for?  Let’s do this!

Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup

(my original recipe– please feel free to share it up and change it up, but please link back here so no one steals my work 🙂

Ingredients:

8 cups water
3 tbsp. chicken bouillon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, diced
3 celery ribs, chopped
4 carrots, finely chopped
1 whole chicken
Prepared egg noodles (more on this later)

Directions:

Place water, spices, chopped vegetables, and whole chicken (cut this up and place all pieces, including chicken back, into the water– for help on cutting up a whole chicken, check out my tutorial here) into a large stock pot.  Allow the mixture to simmer for about an hour, until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is falling off the bone.  Turn off the heat and remove chicken to a separate plate to cool until you can handle it without getting burned.  When the chicken has cooled, remove the meat from the bones and discard bones.  Chop chicken and return it to the pot.  In a separate pot, bring to boil 3 cups of water and 1 tbsp. chicken bouillon (this is separate from the water and bouillon amounts listed above in the recipe).  When the water has boiled, place egg noodles into the broth to the level that all the noodles can fit below the surface and not stick up above the water.  Simmer until the noodles “drink” all the liquid, and then turn off the heat.  Keep noodles in a separate bowl and add to individual bowls when you serve so that the noodles don’t slurp up all your delicious broth.  That’s right– no more opening the container in the fridge, tomorrow, and finding that all you have left is engorged noodles where your delicious soup used to be.  You’re welcome 😉
Now, in pictures! 🙂
Chicken noodle soup.  “Homemade” chicken noodle soup.  Don’t let the title strike fear into your heart.  You can totally do this.  Start by making a basic chicken broth, which we are going to enhance and jazz up with all sorts of yummy stuff here, in a second.  Start by running 8 cups of water into a stock pot.  It feels neat to create a nourishing meal out of water.  Seriously.  Don’t you feel like some kind of domestic goddess or something?
 Add in your chicken bouillon, but hold off on the salt and pepper until the end.  A big mistake that many people make when they are creating soup is to add tons of spice, right at the beginning.  The vegetables and meat will simmer awesome flavor into this broth, and so you want to wait until the end to see if you even need more flavor.  You can always add more salt at the end, but you can’t take it out, once it’s in there.  Err on the side of caution and wait to add too much seasoning until the end.
Now, let’s talk vegetables!  Basically, you will need a large onion, 4 carrots (depending on how many you want in your soup), and 3 celery ribs.  You can throw in more of these, or even other types of vegetables, also– sweet potatoes, corn, or even leeks or parsnips.  Just make sure they are “hard” type vegetables, or you will need to add them toward the end of the cooking time so they don’t turn to mush.  Chop up your vegetables and add them to the water.
There are all your pretty little vegetables boiling away.  Add in your cut up chicken (more on how to do this here).  Add the pretty chicky to the mix.  My chicken bones are under there, too, enjoying a nice soak in the hot tub.  Cover the pot and allow the mixture to simmer and bubble gently for about an hour, until the meat is falling off the bones and the vegetables are tender.
After about an hour, the meat should be falling off the bones.  Use tongs to remove the chicken pieces from the broth so that they can cool down before you handle them.   Turn off the heat under the soup, too.  When the chicken is cool, pull all the meat off the bones and chop it into small pieces.  Add the chicken pieces back into the soup.  A neat trick that I like to use is keeping leftover chicken that we don’t eat, for supper, in a bag in the freezer.  If we have, say, a leftover chicken breast at supper, I chop up the leftovers and add them to my freezer bag.   That way, I always have a nice supply of cooked and diced chicken to throw into recipes– and everyone knows that, with chicken soup, the meatier the better.  😉
Now . . . here’s a really neat little trick.  When I first started making chicken noodle soup, I always had the same problem– the noodles would drink up all the broth like a thirsty camel crossing the Sahara.  There is just nothing worse than working so hard to make homemade chicken stock, only to have the greedy noodles slurp it all up.  But don’t worry– there is a solution!  We will make the noodles separately.
Yep. You heard me. Make your chicken noodle soup without noodles. Add them in later.  It’s such a simple solution, but it’s perfect.  You will never again open a container of leftover chicken soup to find that the noodles have gulped all your broth.  These noodles are heavy drinkers.  It’s time to take temptation away.  Just say NO.
Basically, for my large stock pot, I do the noodles this way: I boil 3 cups of water in a saucepan and add 1 tbsp. chicken bouillon.  When the mixture boils, I add enough egg noodles to come up to the top of the water, without being super crowded.  Isn’t that scientific? Yes.  Haha.  Basically, you just want enough noodles that the pot is full, but not packed, and the water covers the noodles easily.  Cook these noodles on a low simmer until they are soft and have absorbed all that liquid that you put in there.  Now, they’re ready.
Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup
When you serve individual bowls of soup, simply ladle in the desired amount of noodles and soup base into the bowls. This way, you will make sure that everyone gets a nice mix everything– no more “I didn’t get any chicken!  All I have is noodles!” when you get to the bottom of the soup pot.  It also doesn’t matter if the noodles slurp away in their drinking frenzy, because there is no more broth for them to drink (I even put the noodles in a separate container in the fridge when storing, to prevent their midnight slurping ;).  Also, your noodles won’t commit noodle glutton suicide . . . that horrible, squashy, messy goop that noodles become when they over-absorb water.  See their weakness.  Don’t give ’em anything else to drink!
Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup
This soup is just great.  You can freeze the broth (without noodles) for an easy meal, anytime– just make your noodles separately anytime you want soup, and you have eliminated the yucky frozen noodle syndrome.  You can simmer this soup on the stove for a delicious, steaming meal after a chilly walk or fall hayride, or whip up a quick pot of soup, along with a crusty loaf of bread, to bring to a friend or neighbor.  How about a new Mommy/baby gift?  When a new parent is functioning on about 2 hours of sleep, imagine the comfort of having this meal delivered with a smile (and maybe with disposable bowls!).  Nothing warms the heart and soul like a bowl of pure, chicken comfort.
Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup
You did it.  And I’m just so proud of you.

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3 Comments

  1. Louise

    I make chicken egg noodle soup often but have the problem of the noodles slurping up my soup liquid. Thanks for the hint about the separate pot for cooking the noodles. I will try it when I do a pot tomorrow. Also I won’t freeze them any more. Thanks

    Reply
    1. Emilie (Post author)

      I feel your pain, Louise! For years I would make a great big pot of chicken noodle soup, only to find the next morning that all I had was “thirsty noodles” and zero broth. :/ Now I always make the noodles separately (even put them in a separate container in the fridge). Adding them bowl by bowl makes sure you get picture-perfect soup, every time. 🙂 Good luck! I hope it turns out really well! Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
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