Old-School Chicken Noodle Soup
There’s nothing like a warm bowl of chicken soup when you’re sick or when you need a bit of warming up. There’s a time and a place for rich and hearty soups but there’s also a time for light flavorful broths and vegetables like this one. This recipe starts with breaking down a full chicken and then ending with the bowl of the finished soup. You see the full process through from start to finish. I love seeing recipes through from the base ingredient all the way through to the end because it gives you an appreciation for the process. When making the base for the soup, you don’t want to boil the mixture because the stock will cloud, keep it at a bare simmer because, as it reduces, simmering will keep the broth clear.
You may have heard of trendy “bone broths” popping up as a cure-all remedy especially around Los Angeles. I am a little skeptical of this trend because bone broth is just fancy dressed-up chicken broth that also happens to sell for double the price. I prefer to take a little time and make my own broth, and, by simmering the bones with vegetables, you end up with a soup base that also has the claimed health benefits including protein from the simmered bones.
If you were ever standing in the soup aisle of the grocery store wondering what the hell the difference is between stock and broth you are not alone. Calling bone broth a “broth” when it is a "stock" also leads to further confusion. While the terms are often used interchangeably, broth is best defined as any liquid made from simmering water with meat, vegetables and herbs. Stock, on the other hand, is a little denser and more flavorful because of the addition of bones, which adds both protein and collagen. Additionally, stock is typically simmered for a longer amount of time to get the most out of the bones. And finally, most stocks differ from broth in that they are unseasoned and are more easily manipulated when cooking. Confusing, but I hope this clears some things up.
If I am buying one at the store rather than making my own I always buy one with less sodium so that I can season with salt myself.
For the chicken broth:
1 whole (4-pound) chicken, cut into pieces, skin on
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
3 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 medium onions, quartered
1 medium leek, whites chopped
1 bunch parsley
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt, to taste
2 medium stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
½ pound egg noodles
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
For the chicken broth:
Place the chicken, celery, carrots, onion, leeks, parsley, peppercorns and bay leaves into a large saucepot and add enough water so that the chicken and vegetables are covered by a about 1-inch of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat then reduce heat to low so that the stock is at a bare simmer. Continue to cook, uncovered, until the chicken is very tender and falling off the bone, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Skim the surface of the broth occasionally.
Use tongs to remove the chicken to a large bowl and let cool. Shred the chicken and add the meat to a bowl, discard the skin and bones. Strain the broth and discard the vegetables. Season to taste with salt.
Return the broth to a simmer over medium-low heat and add the diced vegetables. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about an additional 30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Pour in the egg noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set the noodles aside.
Add the shredded chicken and the noodles to the broth and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with fresh dill.