Friday, December 3, 2010

Homemade chicken noodle soup

'Tis the season... to look like a homeless person or bulky bag lady walking to work!  Gone are the days when I can wear flip flops and skirts without a jacket, or even expect to get by wearing my normal dress pants and a pea coat.  My layers go something like this: normal top and cardigan, puffy vest, ski jacket with scarf and hood up on top; dress pants, fleece sweatpants, and occasionally boots on the bottom.  Hardly respectable but thank goodness I can sneak into my office early, close my door, and make myself presentable.  Fetching, no?  All this talk about bundling up makes me think of the movie A Christmas Story.

So, as the temperatures drop and my legs move faster walking home at night, I find myself bursting in the door, huffing, puffing and numb from top to bottom... and craving, "must have"-ing soup.  It all makes sense now -- this is exactly what the Campbell's soup commercial has been proclaiming all of these years!  A big bowl of warmth and nutrition is just what I need to chase away the cold and warm my fingers and toes. 

I have such fond memories of my soup-making adventures.  The cooking process makes my apartment feel so cozy and smell so terribly good.  (Did you know that smell is the sense most closely tied with memory?)  Around this time last year, I made chicken and rice soup.  It served its purpose as a quick fix comfort food meant to heal me when I was sick.  But it didn't have that slow-cooked rich flavor from root vegetables and a whole chicken that I look for when I'm healthy and able to be picky about my food.  Well, I'm picky about my food when I'm sick, too, but the list looks something like this: bananas, toast, ginger ale, water.  A different kind of picky... says the picky writer.

Enough about a less than stellar soup and onto an out of this world delicious and simple soup.  You must make this soup!  This recipe for chicken noodle recipe has both the rich broth and tasty vegetables that the aforementioned soup lacked.  The carrots, parsnips and celery are tender and barely sweet, while the onion and chicken give real depth to the flavor.  Oh, and it uses one pot.  One!  And real pieces of chicken, none of this barely visible speck business like canned soup.  The original recipe, much to my surprise, didn't include chicken.  I went right ahead and ignored that ludicrous oversight, thankyouverymuch.  What resulted was a homemade soup so classic that you'll forget all about that canned stuff.  Campbells, schmampbell's :)

Have a fantastic and warm weekend!  Be sure to check back on Monday for a special post!

One Year Ago: Cutout sugar cookies

Simple Chicken Noodle Soup
(adapted, with a few changes, from here)
-serves 8-10

A few notes: I used a 3.75 pound chicken and found that it was the perfect size to yield meat for the soup and about a cup of shredded chicken for a salad later in the week.  If you'd prefer not to have leftover chicken, I'd recommend using a 2.5 to 3 pound chicken.  Also, crusty garlic bread was the perfect partner for this soup on a cold night.

1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds), liver and giblets discarded
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 pound parsnips, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/2 pound celery, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 large onions, cut into thin wedges
4 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste if needed
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 (12 ounce package) extra wide egg noodles, cooked and drained

In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, combine vegetables and chicken.  Add water just to cover.  Stir in salt.  Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 35 to 40 minutes.  Occasionally skim off foam on top of cooking liquid and discard.

Remove pot from heat.  Transfer chicken to a large plate and cool in fridge or freezer for 15 minutes or so.  Add cooked noodles to vegetables and broth.  Remove cooled chicken.  Pull meat from bones, discarding skin and unwanted scraps, tear into edible shreds and return to pot of soup.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

**Refrigerate in sealed containers in fridge for up to 5 days.  If freezing, portion out in small plastic take-out style containers, and freeze for up to 3 months.


  1. I look beyond ridiculous walking to the bus every morning. How come no one else in my building or at work seems to come in with multiple layers, hat head, or beat up fake uggs on?

  2. Yes, fake Uggs! Target brand for $25 because they will never make it through the winter... yes!