When I have a head cold, nothing makes me feel better than the smell and taste of good old-fashioned chicken noodle soup.
So when my throat started aching, nose started running, cough began croaking, ears felt like they were stuffed with cotton, and head began pounding this week, I knew I had to get a pot of soup on.
Not only does the smell comfort me and remind me of Grandma’s house and love, but the steam clears up the stuffed nose and the warm broth soothes my sore throat.
When other foods lose their flavor when your head is congested, nothing tastes as good as homemade chicken soup.
If you are a beginner cook, I hope you will find this recipe easy to follow. It is made from staple ingredients I almost always have in my kitchen, and though it takes a couple hours to simmer, you can throw it together quickly and forget about it during that time – enjoying the aroma and anticipation of comfort.
Here is how I make it.
Old-Fashioned Homemade Chicken Soup for Beginners
- 2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (I like to use Trader Joe’s Frozen Organic Boneless & Skinless Chicken Breasts)
- 12 cups water
- 6 sticks celery cut into 4-5 inch pieces
- 1 cup shortcut carrots
- 5-6 tsp. chicken soup base (I like Bell-View)
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 2 large sweet onions, halved
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley (or 1 Tbsp dried parsley)
- 1 Tbsp ground pepper
- 12 oz. pkg Kluski egg noodles (I like Pennsylvania Dutch brand)
Place frozen chicken breasts in large soup pot. Cover with 12 cups cold water. Add celery, carrots, chicken base, whole garlic cloves, onions, parsley, and pepper. Cover and bring to a rolling boil.
Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer with lid tilted slightly so it is not tight fitting, but allows steam to escape. Simmer for approximately 2 hours or until broth level reduces 1/2 – 1 inch. You can tell this by looking at the side of the pot where a line will be formed where soup started. This will allow the broth to build depth of flavor.
When soup is almost done, boil noodles in a separate pot, cooking 2-3 minutes less than directions. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Set aside.
When soup broth is done, pour through strainer into a larger pot. The broth will go into the pot, and the chicken and vegetables will remain in the strainer.
When cool enough to handle, chop chicken and vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Add back to broth, then add drained and rinsed noodles. Stir to incorporate all.
Your soup is now ready to enjoy. This soup keeps well for up to a week in the refrigerator and also freezes well.
Beginner’s sidenotes/tips: You can certainly use a whole chicken or chicken parts, but it is a lot more work to clean the chicken from the bone, and remove the skin and fat after cooking to cut up for the soup. Using chicken breasts also eliminated the need to allow the broth to cool and fat to rise to top to skim off as there is little to no fat in the chicken breasts. Chicken breasts also allow for a heartier soup with big chunks of tender chicken. Buying a better grade and organic chicken will give you better flavor and better food value. I’ve found with cheaper brands of chicken, there is fat and gristle that needs removed as well as ligaments that need cut out.
You can certainly use whole raw carrots, but the convenient short-cut carrots save the need for peeling and cutting down carrots into manageable pieces.
While dried herbs are always good to have on hand in a pinch, nothing will make your recipes better than using fresh herbs. Fresh parsley as opposed to dried will really add a whole new sophisticated level to your soup.
Always cook your noodles separately, and drain and rinse well in cold water. This will remove the starch that cooks off the pasta from being in your soup and “muddying up” the broth’s texture and flavor. Rinsing in cold water will stop the “cooking” that still continues in food like pasta while it is still hot.
Cook noodles 2-3 minutes less than directions say to avoid soggy, mushy noodles in your soup. As they sit in the soup, they will soften and plump even more, so no need to over-cook.
Do not add oil or salt to the noodles when boiling. There is plenty of salt in the soup base that will make the broth. It is almost impossible to “unsalt” soup, but additional salt can always be added for individual taste or preference. If you over-salt, add more water to broth or consider boiling a whole peeled potato in the broth. The potato will absorb some of the salt. You can then throw the potato out, hopefully salvaging your broth.
Cheers & Hugs,