Okay, back when I was a kid and I got to feeling sick, my mom would pry open one of those cans of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, dump the ingredients into a small pot and add an extra can of water to thin it down some. Then she’d fire up the stove and heat it up for maybe five minutes or so. When it was “done”, she’d dump it in a bowl and give me an army of saltine crackers to me to crumble up and add to the soup.
I guess it tasted “good” back then but now that I think about it, man, you’d have to drag me kicking and screaming to the table to even get close enough to get a whiff of that stuff.
I don’t mean to be a snob or anything but just the thought of those stringy ass noodles sitting in a can for God knows how long and those little teeny pieces of what might be chicken and those soggy carrots and wilted old celery is enough to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I guess that kinda stuff is good in a pinch but we all know the saying that if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it well. So, from my kitchen to yours, here’s borgo’s tried and true, sure fire, hellacious take on chicken noodle soup.
First of all, you’re gonna need some time to do this recipe right so make sure you have plenty of it on your hands.
Before you even go to the store, make sure you have the following stuff either stashed away in the recesses of your pantry or buried in the veggie crisper of your refrigerator. Whatever you don’t have, add to your list.
1 large white onion – cut up in quarters
About a cup or so of some fresh parsley -all chopped up
1 or 2 ribs of celery, washed and sliced
5 to 7 whole peppercorns
3 or 4 cloves
A bay leaf
Either two quarts of chicken stock or water. I usually use stock but if I don’t I toss in 4 or 5 chicken bouillon cubes.
2 or 3 medium sized carrots, peeled and sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste
Now, wander down to your friendly neighborhood grocery store and make your way to the place where they keep whole chickens. There you’ll see various types such as Broilers, Fryers and Roasters. Keep going into you run into one that’s called “Stewing”. These are usually older birds that, given their age, are tougher than their brethren but are usually larger in size. Pick one out in the four to six pound range.
Once you get all that stuff home, rinse off the chicken. Stuff your hand into the chicken cavity and scoop out any of the giblets that might have found their way inside. You can either use them, freeze them or toss them. I usually toss them.
Next, get your hands on a huge freakin’ pot and plop everything inside EXCEPT for the egg noodles. Bring it to a quick boil and then reduce the heat so that it simmers away. Cover it and walk away for about a half hour. When you get back, siphon off any of the scum that might have formed. Give it a stir and add more water or broth as you see fit. Repeat this for the next two to two and a half hours depending on the size of the chicken. If heaven has a smell, I’m thinking this would be it.
Once the chicken is tender, remove it from the pot. Chunks might fall off but don’t worry about it. Let it cool for a bit and then remove the skin and debone that sucker. Any meat, (and there will be plenty) should then be cut into chunks or thin strips and set aside. I use both the white and the dark meat.
It’s at this point that many recipes call for you to strain off the broth to remove the fat. I say to hell with that and plop in the chunks of chicken. I let it simmer for about fifteen minutes or so. Then I drop in the egg noodles and let it go for another ten to twelve or until they are fork tender.
This is what you might call a “hearty” soup. It yields up a good ten to twelve heapin’ helpings of hospitality and it’s a good idea to have some friends around to help you polish it off.
As an aside, I’m sure there are a bazillion versions of chicken noodle soup floating around in kitchens far and wide. Mothers and grandmothers alike probably all have their time honored recipes stashed away in a rolodex or book marked in a favorite cookbook. Whatever you do, don’t feel limited to use this one or for that matter any of them. Experiment with different ones and maybe invent one of your very own.
After all, variety is the spice of life.
yclept says re chicken noodle soup: +4 to 6 whole cloves of garlic added at the beginning. They'll dissolve into the broth over the long cooking time but the flavor is fantabulous.
eien_meru says re chicken noodle soup: I'm going to upvote this despite your use of celery, which is clearly Satan's gift to vegetables.