I am convinced that homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch can cure anything. I have the best memories of homemade chicken noodle soup the way my step-father made it. The whole house would swell with the warm smell of the chicken stock and it would linger for days after he cooked it. I remember clutching a large ceramic bowl with an oversized spoon in my hand gulping down huge chunks of chicken and vegetables. Whenever my sister, mom or I got sick, even for a simple cold, my step-dad would declare he had the cure to our sickness and would get started whipping together his famous soup. I think the only time I ever got off the couch when I was sick was to eat a heart warming bowl of his chicken noodle soup. I don’t think I ever appreciated the art of chicken noodle soup until a few months ago when I decided to embark on the journey of making the same chicken noodle soup the way my step-dad made it.
I have documented the process and ingredients of the best chicken noodle soup below. The beauty about chicken noodle soup is you can add what you want and how much you want depending on personal preference. I personally like carrots so I will add a bit more carrots than celery. The full list of what I use is below.
Time: Between 3-5 hours depending on size of chicken.
- 1 full chicken
- 10-15 Carrots
- 1-2 Celery stalks
- 3-4 Onions
- 1-2 Leeks
- Fresh Parsley
- 5-7 Bay leaves
- 15-20 Black pepper corns
- Celery root
- Fresh Rosemary
- 5-8 Garlic cloves
I added 2 small dried peppers from my garden to add a bit of spice for a change. But for your first receipt I would stick with the basics and for future batches throw in some fun things. Please also remember depending on how big your chicken is and how large your pots is the amounts of each ingredients can be changed.
- Take the chicken and clean it off with some water. Open the cavity and rinse it with some water. Depending on the brand there might be some redish colored water in the cavity, this is totally normal, just dump this water out. If you feel more comfortable you can put some disposable gloves on to pull out the organs out of the cavity. Some chickens will already have the organs taken out, again it depends on the brand. I usually just toss the organs. Make sure to really clean of the surfaces you touched the chicken too.
- Grab your largest pot, Ideally a minimum of a 5 gallon pot. Put the chicken in the pot and fill the pot with water so the chicken is completely covered with water.
- Now go ahead and add the following veggies to make the stalk.
- Put in all of the onions. I take the skin off and quarter them
- Put in the leaves of the celery (the inner part of the celery stalk)
- 2 whole carrots
- Put both leeks in, cut off the top green part and just put the bottom part of the leeks in for the broth. They can be cut in half or put in whole
- All of the parsley, a good handful
- A few stems of fresh rosemary
- A few stems of Oregano
- All of the garlic cloves with the skins off
- Celery root, Cut into quarters or eighths. I leave the thick outer skin on
- All of the Bay leaves
- All of the peppercorns
- A few teaspoons of Salt. Additional salt will be added to taste at the end
- Bring the stalk to a boil and then reduce to a high simmer, the stalk should be softly boiling.
- Wait between 3-5 hours, again depending on the chicken size. You will know when the chicken is done because the whole chicken will literally fall off the bone and can be pulled apart easily. Ideally when it gets to this point it will pull off in nice sized strips rather than chunks of chicken. Make sure not to let it go for too long, the chicken will mix up with the veggies and it will be hard to separate the chicken from the cooked veggies.
- Once the chicken falls off the bone, strain the chicken and vegetables from the stalk. I usually pour the stalk into a cullender with a large pot underneath. Then I will strain the stalk for a second time through a finer mesh strainer back into the original 5 gallon pot. Discard the vegetables used to make the stalk and separate the chicken into nice sized strips. Now set aside the chicken. You will put it back into the soup at the end of the boil.
- Now cut up the rest of your celery stalks and carrots and add them to the strained chicken stalk. Put the flame on medium-low heat and softly boil for 20-30 minutes. You can taste the carrots to see how soft they are. I like mine not too mushy so I just make sure to watch them so they do not start to get so soft where they fall apart.
- Now for the last step. Add the chicken back into the stalk and softly boil for another 10-15 minutes. The chicken is already cooked so I usually just do this while I am adding additional salt and pepper to taste. I usually will add additional salt and freshly ground pepper to the soup when I am about to eat it so just remember not to go overboard with salt and pepper.
When you are ready to serve boil some egg noodles or whichever noodle type you prefer so you can add the noodles to each individual bowl when you serve it. I prefer to do this than let the noodles soak in the broth.
Also you can freeze some of the soup for later. I usually put the soup in a huge tupperware to enjoy untill the last drop. Dont forget to give it away to all of your friends. I love to share what I make.
Enjoy and eat up!