Make chicken noodle soup from scratch at least once in your life. There’s something almost magical about it. Depth of flavour that brings you back to your childhood. This is serious comfort food.
This has absolutely nothing in common with store bought soup. Chicken noodle soup from scratch is to store bought canned soup like perfectly grilled New York striploin steaks are to boiled hamburger. Maybe I’m overstating it but you get the idea. It’s a totally different beast.
This recipe is all about layering flavours. Start with homemade chicken stock instead of water. Layer one. Poach the chicken in the stock. Layer two. Simmer the bones in the stock before you make the soup. Layer three. Sweat your aromatics before adding the stock. Layer four. Finish with a bit of cornstarch for the ultimate mouthfeel. Layer five. Get the picture? Layer on layer on layer of chicken noodle soup goodness.
When you make chicken noodle soup from scratch do make a lot. You will understand why when you taste it…
- 1 whole chicken - 3-4 lbs - grain-fed air-chilled
- 12 cups chicken stock - homemade if you can from your butcher works too. Store bought if you must.
- 1 1/2 cups diced onion
- 1 1/2 cups diced carrots
- 2 stalks diced celery
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 6 oz broad egg noodles
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch you may want a bit more
- salt to taste - takes a surprising amount. Soup is funny that way...
- fresh Italian parsley for garnish
- Choose a pot large enough to hold the chicken and 12 cups of stock. Starting with stock is your first layer.
- Heat the chicken stock to just simmering. Add one Tbsp kosher salt, then add the chicken, breast side down.
- Poach the chicken, covered, for about 20 minutes. Flip the chicken and continue poaching another 10 minutes or so. Poaching the chicken in the stock adds another layer of flavour.
- You are going for about 160F in the breast and 170F in the thigh. Use your instant read thermometer. Don't have one? Get one! It's important.
- Remove the chicken from the broth. Let cool until you can handle it. This takes a surprisingly long time. Remove the chicken from the bones. Discard the skin. Store it in the refrigerator.
- Return the bones to the stock. Simmer for 3-4 hours, loosely covered. This adds more chicken goodness to the stock. Another layer of flavour.
- After 3-4 hours let cool slightly. Strain into a large container. Wipe out the pot.
- Pre-heat your pot over medium low heat. Film the bottom of the pot with olive oil.
- Add the onion, carrot and celery. Sweat until the onions are translucent.
- Add the thyme and return the stock to the pot.
- Simmer until the carrots are tender. I can't tell you exactly - depends on how long you sweated them in oil and how big your dice is. Somewhere around 30 minutes is my guess.
- While the soup simmers dice the chicken.
- Once the carrots are tender add the noodles. Simmer until the noodles are cooked - about 8-10 minutes. Add the chicken and cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Add salt - a tsp at a time until you have your salt in balance. It could take as much as 4-5 tsp depending on how you like your soup.
- Add about 2 Tbsp of hot stock to the cornstarch. Mix to make an even paste then add another couple tablespoons of stock to dilute it. Return the cornstarch mixture to the pot. Stir and bring to a simmer. It will thicken just a little bit for that extra magic mouthfeel. Another layer.
- Taste it at this point. If you want a bit more texture in the broth repeat the cornstarch process with a second tablespoon.
- Add a bit of chopped fresh Italian parsley to brighten the flavours.
- Serve and be ready when people ask for seconds...