Good Ol’ Chicken Noodle Soup

I love chicken noodle soup, yes even in the summer – I seem to be on a soup kick lately. I love it especially because its fairly easy. I mean everything is cut into big chunks and just thrown in, and the ingredients are whatever you’ve got lying around that you want to get rid of. The only thing that takes a bit of time is taking the chicken meat off the bones… I love using a while chicken for this, the flavour is just so amazing from cooking on the bone like that. Thats probably why I love whole roasted chicken too.

I had some kale turning a bit yellow and had just gotten some gorgeous large onions from my CSA. I just chop everything really large-like as you can see from the photo below, and I don’t even peel the onion or carrots. Just give everything a good rinse chop coarsely and into the pot they go.

Everything gets chopped except for the chicken. My chicken was a bit large and didn’t even fit in my pot. It didn’t help that it was frozen. Yes you can totally use a frozen chicken! I was actually going to use this chicken for a whole roasted chicken, but it was so gigantic that it wasn’t defrosting in time. So I had to think fast… have you been in that situation before? I am terrible at planing meals and taking meat out from the freezer so it can defrost in time for dinner.

For the ingredients, just use whatever, I’m going to write down what I usually put in, but really it changes a lot with what I have. I also save bits from chopping up vegetables and store them in the freezer for soup, like the tops from leeks, parsley stems or broccoli stalks. I make chicken bone broth a lot so I like to save up these vegetable “junk” bits to use as flavourings. If you want to turn this into a bone broth, just throw into the pot as many bones as will fit along with your veggies, cover with water and follow the instructions below but simmer for like 4 hours or longer. You want to extract all the yummy goodness from the bones. Some people have a perpetual bone broth in the slow cooker which sounds interesting and I’d like to do it one day!

Some people cook the chicken stock with flavourings separately, and then cook onions, garlic and carrots in another pot until soft, and then add the stock to the cooked vegetables to make soup. I cook it all in one pot and then chop up the vegetables from the stock and put them into the final soup.

What interesting things do you put in your soup and stocks?

I added some kale to this soup near the end because I didn’t have parsley :)

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 whole free range organic chicken, (about 3 1/2 pounds is a good size) rinsed, giblets discarded (frozen or fresh)
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1-2 onions, quartered
1 head of garlic, cut in half
1 tbsp whole peppercorns
1-2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
Handful of parsley stems, or other vegetable scraps
Any other ingredients that you have such as rutabaga, turnips, kale etc
Any other aromatics and herbs that you have such as thyme, bay leaf etc
Water to cover chicken and vegetables
8 ounces dried wide egg noodle
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley, finely chopped to garnish

Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover; too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (this depends on the size of your chicken, the 6 lb one above took a little over 2 hours), partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.

Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat and set aside.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Pick out as many carrots, garlic head and onions that you can and chop up to put back into the soup. If you didn’t peel your carrots, the skin comes off pretty easy with the back of a knife when it is cooked.

Pour the stock back into the pot and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken and cooked vegetables, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.