It seems like everyone gets sick this time of year when the flu, colds, and allergies run rampant. Of course the go-to for anyone when they’re sick is the classic Chicken Noodle Soup. In the U.S., old folk remedy purports that the soup will more rapidly cure a cold or other similar illnesses. This is backed up by some scientific research on the topic while other studies have refuted the claim. But regardless of the soup’s true homeopathic properties, one thing is certain. Chicken noodle soup is regarded as one of the most comforting and cozy soups around.
The recipe I offer below is insanely easy and equally delicious. The chicken is first roasted in a traditional method like I’ve described in this earlier post. If you’re crunched for time, you can pick up a store-roasted chicken instead. It’s carcass is then broken up and simmered in hot water for hours to draw out the essential flavors of the chicken that form the base to this soup. Breaking up the bones also helps the soup thicken, as marrow is said to be a natural thickening agent. Rather than plop the veggies directly into the broth, I sauté them on low heat until they form a savory paste and then add them to the broth. This is also the method I use for gumbo and I find it works well for pretty much any kind of hearty soup with vegetables. Of course, like any true Southerner, I hit my soup with a good bit of Tony Chachere’s to give it some extra flavor and spice. (If the hot broth doesn’t help clear your stuffy nose, the Tony’s sure will!)
So if you’ve fallen victim to the dreaded cold and flu, give this soup a try. Serve it with egg noodles or rice, cozy up in a big fluffy blanket on the couch, and feel better soon.
PS: I always try to keep a batch of this soup in my freezer so that I’m prepared when the inevitable cold/flu day comes around. Lucky me, I haven’t gotten sick yet this season so I haven’t had to use it! Woohoo!
And, of course, I probably just jinxed myself…Shit.
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 Roasted Chicken (see here and just omit the truffle…or don’t!)
- 10 cups of water
- 2 yellow onions, chopped finely
- 6 carrots, chopped finely
- 6 stalks of celery, chopped finely
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Creole seasoning to taste (I use Tony Chachere’s)
Remove and discard chicken skin and peel meat from it, making sure to break up the meat into smaller pieces. Set meat aside.
Using either the side of a knife or a kitchen mallet, break up as many bones of the chicken carcass as possible. Place all of the bones into a large stock pot and cover with water (about 10 cups). Bring to a boil to begin the chicken stock. Once it comes to a boil, immediately turn it down to a simmer. You want to see one or two bubbles floating to the surface every couple of seconds, but not more than that. Leave it to simmer, uncovered, on the stove for at least 3 hours, or until the water has reduced by half. If it starts to cook down too much (ie., you’ve lost more than half of the liquid in less than 3 hours), just add more water, 1 cup at a time until it’s done.
While the chicken stock is forming, take out a large sauté pan, coat with olive oil, and place over medium heat. Add the carrots, then celery, and then onions to the pan, cooking until soft and tender. You almost want them to form a paste by the end of it. Add more olive oil and/or water if it looks like they are burning or getting stuck to the bottom. You may need to do this in batches, depending on how large your pan is. You don’t want the veggies to steam, you want them to cook in the oil. I did mine in 2 separate batches. Once veggies are soft and almost paste-like, remove from heat and set aside.
Once your chicken stock has formed, pour the stock through a fine colander with a large bowl or Tupperware container under it to remove any bones or large chunks. Place the bowl in the freezer for at least an hour. This should bring a lot of the fat up to the surface while keeping the stock at the bottom. Remove from the freezer and scrape as much of the fatty part off as you can without losing the stock.
Then, pour all of the stock, chicken, and veggies back into the large stockpot. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and creole seasoning to taste. You’ll probably need more creole seasoning than you think – just keep adding a little bit at a time and taste testing as you go. Allow to simmer on low for 1-2 hours, or until all of the flavors have melded.
Serve with fresh egg noodles or rice (cooked separately.)