Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup…..

The absolute best way to make homemade chicken noodle soup is to start  with homemade chicken stock using leftover chicken meat/bones.  The next time you make whole roasted chicken,  leave a bit of meat on the bones and save the whole carcass.  If you don’t plan on making soup within a few days, label, date and freeze.  I prefer to accumulate several carcasses in the freezer along with miscellaneous leftover pieces of chicken for soup/stock.  Once I have a pretty big stock pile, I make stock.  I use what I want for a big pot of soup and then freeze the rest of the stock for later use.  There is NOTHING like homemade chicken stock. 

I enjoy my soup loaded with vegetables and noodles and or rice, almost like a stew.  Soup made this way is a meal in itself.  Growing up my Mom made soup once a week.  She would gather all of the leftovers that accumulated over the week and come up with a delicious and unusual soup.  She made the BEST soups!  Remember, there are no rules.  Add whatever YOU like.

I especially like to make stock on days when I’ll be home most of the day.  I put it on the stove and allow it to slowly simmer for several hours.  Minimum simmering time is about 2 hours but I think the longer it cooks the better it is.  If the liquid evaporates 1″ or more, add more water as you go.  However long you choose to simmer your stock, your house will smell wonderful!  You’ll notice that I do not season the stock.  I think it best to season whatever your using it for at the very end.  That way over seasoning can be avoided.

What to do with that beautiful liquid  and all the bones and vegetables?  I remove as much of the bones/veggies with a slotted spoon into a large platter.  I then strain the rest of the soup through a fine grate colander into a large bowl to remove small bits of skin and bones.  If you’d like to take it a step further, you can allow the stock to cool completely in the refrigerator and skim the fat off the top.  You would be removing the “schmaltz.”  It is actually quite delicious and a very important ingredient in matzo balls….another topic for another time.  Most people would remove this to reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol.   Many chefs today are using “schmaltz” for cooking as it is loaded with incredible flavor.

Allow the bones/meat/skin to cool so that you can handle it.  Remove any small bits and pieces of chicken from the bones.   Put the chicken in the refrigerator until you’re ready to add it to the stock for soup.

Here’s what you’ll need to make chicken stock:

For the chicken/turkey soup stock

1-2 chicken carcases or 1 turkey carcass (the more bones the better)
2 whole chicken breasts with bone and skin if you like more meat in your soup (optional)
1 large stalk of celery, sliced into 3 pieces
1/4 medium onion, cut through the root so that it stays intact
1 large carrot, cut into 3-4 large pieces
1 small bunch of fresh parsley

1)  Add all ingredients to a large stock pot.  Add enough water to submerge all of the stock ingredients.  Place pot over low heat and allow it to simmer for 2-4 hours.  Add water when it evaporates by an inch.
2)  Remove the solid ingredients from the stock with a slotted spoon onto a large platter.  Strain the stock through a fine colander into a large bowl. 
3)  If you’d like to de-fat the stock, pour it into storage containers and allow it to cool a bit on the counter top.  Stir often to release heat.  Refrigerate until completely chilled.  Remove the fat from the top with a spoon. 
4)  Pick through the bones to remove all of the meat you can.  Refrigerate until you’re ready to make soup.
5)  If you’re going to make soup, follow the steps below.  Remember you can make it your own.  Add any leftover vegetables you might have in the refrigerator.  My last batch contained leftover roasted sweet potatoes and parsnips and half a bag of frozen peas.

Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup

1 large onion, chopped
4 large stalks of celery, chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
8-10 cups of stock
Chicken reserved from cooking the stock
2 lb. mixed vegetables, use anything you like
2 cups of cooked soup noodles or leftover rice or both, add more if you like

Salt and pepper to taste

1) Add the chicken stock to a large pot over medium-low heat.  Chop up all vegetables and add to the stock.  Cover with a lid to get the soup going.  Once it begins to simmer, leave the lid on ajar.  Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
2)  Time to add all of the goodies.  Add the chicken and frozen vegetables if you’re using frozen.  Allow to simmer for at least 5 minutes.  Add the noodles and whatever other tid bits you may have from your refrigerator.  Do  not be afraid to add salt to the soup.  Remember this is a whole lot of stock/vegetables/chicken.  Taste the soup and add it a half a teaspoon at a time, tasting after each addition.  Makes 6-8 servings.

*Soup freezes beautifully.  Simply divvy it up in individual portions or in large tubs.  As always, label and date.
**Try topping your hot soup with a tablespoon of fresh grated parmesan cheese, YUM!
***Cook the noodles BEFORE you add to the soup as the raw pasta will absorb too much of the liquid in the soup.

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