If ever there was a recipe hard to put in print, for me, this one would be it. It’s so very simple, but different every time, with lots of room to alter according to what you have on hand. And of course, there is always the vague way in which I measure (“a little of this,” “some of that,” “hmmm, maybe a bit more…”). However… we all need Chicken Noodle Soup. Absolutely, positively a staple in the human diet in one of its variations or another. Soothing, healing medicine for the body… and the taste buds. So, I’ll attempt putting it in print here with you. But remember this. You can’t go wrong. Give it a try, and enjoy!
Basically, you’re dealing with three simple parts: the broth, the mix-ins (chunks of chicken, veggies, whatever), and the noodles.
Starting with the broth. Your best bet is home made. If you don’t have home made broth on hand, I pull the bouillon cubes out of the pantry or the chicken past out of the fridge. Or you can use canned. I rarely have canned broth around, though the product is superior to the bouillon cubes. But nothing comes close to the homemade, so let’s start with that.
After I cook a whole chicken for a roast chicken dinner, I remove all the meat I can and save for later use, and remove and discard the skin. Put all the bones into a large stock pot and cover with water. If I have them on hand, I like to throw in a chopped onion, a few chopped carrots, a few branches of celery green, and a bay leaf. I cover the pot, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer it for an hour or so. Remove from heat, let cool, then pass the liquid through a sieve to remove the bones and all, saving the liquid in a new clean container. Add a little salt to the broth, and use for your soup now, or save for a later use. This broth also freezes really well in ziplock bags. I like to freeze a few cups of broth per bag in smaller bags for use in other recipes at a later date.
When you’re ready to make the soup, the next step would be making the noodles. Take a look back at the recipe for Homemade Noodles. Make these up ahead of time, and when it’s time to cut the noodles, roll the dough as thin as you can, and cut evenly in whatever size/width you prefer. I like ¼ inch strips or “ribbons” in my soup.
When your noodle dough is ready to go, start on the “fixin’s.” That’s basically chunks of chicken and whatever veggies you want to put in the soup. I use all the bits of chicken I had picked off the bones before making the broth. That usually ends up giving us a good, meaty, hearty and tasty soup. Add to that some onion, carrot, celery and perhaps potato and/or chopped chard… The veggies I like to sauté in a little butter before adding to the broth. It softens them up beforehand, and adds a little more flavor and texture.
Bring your broth to a boil, throw in the fixin’s, let them flavor the broth by simmering in there for about 15 minutes or until all the veggies are soft and tender. Taste the broth and add salt and pepper as necessary. Then add in your noodles. I usually find they take about 15 more minute to cook in a gently boiling broth. Homemade noodles won’t turn too much as quickly as store bought, but you don’t want to under cook them so that they are still chewy and tough inside.
There you go. That’s it. Serve it up and enjoy!