Forget the holiday season, soup season is my favorite time of year! Soup season means that the temperature is dropping, sweaters and boots are being added back into our wardrobes, and a hint of snow may be in the air. I love the cooler fall and winter months, maybe because my sister and I were born in December, but I also love simple, yet hearty and comforting meals such as soups and stews.
Soup recipes evoke more food memories for me than any other food because homemade chicken noodle soup was one of the first recipes I made while living totally on my own. It was one of the first meals I could not remember ever eating or making that did not come from a can.
I felt like I had lost touch with the essence of a real comforting hot bowl of chicken noodle soup because I usually just picked up convenient cans at the grocery store. So, one Saturday morning back in my early twenties I decided that I was going to make homemade chicken noodle soup! I picked up all of the ingredients from my local grocery store including an entire chicken to break down and got to work chopping vegetables, preparing homemade chicken broth, and then more chopping of vegetables. Finally, what took the better part of my Saturday, I had my first real attempt at homemade chicken noodle soup. I felt very accomplished, yet tired from my labor. I definitely enjoyed my version instead of my usual, convenient canned soup. Truly there was no comparison between the two. I was hooked from then on out!
Over the years, I have streamlined my recipe a bit. If I am running short on time and don’t have the time to prepare homemade chicken broth, I will buy prepared chicken broth (usually low sodium) and sometimes I will choose to buy pre-chopped vegetables if I am really in a bind to decrease my preparation time. This convenience, however, may add to your grocery bill, so be sure to keep that in mind.
Since my first homemade chicken noodle soup preparation, there has not been a can of chicken noodle soup in my pantry in almost ten years. Now when I think about purchasing the convenient alternative, I end up deciding that the benefits of making my own (using fresh or frozen plain vegetables, typically contains much less sodium, having leftovers for days and the cheaper cost), these factors tend to outweigh the canned soup options. If making your own soup is typically not your thing, I suggest trying our recipe this fall and winter. Maybe you will create a new seasonal tradition, and new food memory, for you and your family!
Picture credit: bettycrocker.com
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
I prefer this recipe when preparing chicken noodle soup. One of the only modifications I always make is that I use the thinner spiraled egg noodles in my soup and I tend to only add 2 cups of noodles to my pot. Since I love that this recipe creates oodles of leftovers, I do not want my noodles to soak up too much of the soup broth when I store it in the refrigerator to be reheated and consume at another time. I also prefer fewer noodles in general in my cooking for my own blood glucose management.
Recipe adapted from Country Living.
- 1 whole chicken (I know! You can do it!)
- 3 quarts low sodium chicken broth (if you opt to make your own broth to use in other recipes or to make this soup another time, here is a great guide)
- 6 carrots, chopped
- 4 stalks of celery, chopped
- 3 medium onions
- 5 peppercorns
- 1 clove of garlic
- 10 springs of parsley
- 2 springs of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 4 leeks
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups of medium egg noodles (I use 2 cups of thin spiraled egg noodles)
- Make the stock: Place the chicken and chicken broth in a large stockpot and set it over medium heat. Roughly chop 2 carrots, 2 celery ribs, and 1 onion and add to the broth. Add the peppercorns, garlic, 2 sprigs of parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and enough water to just cover the chicken. Bring the broth to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until the chicken is very tender—about 1 1/4 hours—skimming the surface periodically. Remove the chicken and place in a large bowl. Strain the broth through a very fine sieve into a large, clean bowl or stockpot. Discard the vegetables.
Photo Credit: familyfreshmeals.com
- Make the soup: Skim any fat off the top of the strained broth and discard. Slice the remaining carrots, celery, onions, and leeks into 1/4-inch-thick pieces and set aside. Remove and discard the skin and bones from the chicken, cut meat into 1/2-inch pieces, and set aside. Chop the remaining parsley leaves and set aside. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook until the onions are translucent—about 7 minutes. Add the chicken, the reserved broth, salt, and pepper. Simmer the soup until the vegetables are tender—about 1 hour. Stir in the egg noodles and parsley and cook until the noodles are tender—about 10 more minutes. Serve hot.
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