Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

This was a mainstay comfort food of our childhood, and every Thanksgiving after the carcass had been plucked nearly clean mom would get out the stock pot and make gallons of turkey noodle soup for the freezer.

Ingredients:

Chicken Stock

8 cups homemade chicken stock
-OR-
leftover chicken or turkey with bones
3-4 carrots
3-5 stalks of celery
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic

Soup

8 cups chicken stock
3 carrots
3-5 stalks of celery
bunch fresh parsley
1 small onion
salt/pepper to taste

Instructions

Chicken Stock

(Skip if using prepared stock)

If you’re making noodle soup use 3 stalks of celery. If you’re making it with rice, use the 5 stalks. Use the whole stalk of celery (leaves and all) for best results.

Strip any pieces of meat left on the bones.  Discard any stuffing or herbs still in the cavity.  Otherwise skin, bones, leftover pan drippings and nameless wobbly bits go in the stock pot, meat goes in a separate bowl you stick in the fridge until the stock (broth) is made.

Chop carrots, stalks of celery and onion into big chunks (about 1”) and toss into the stock pot with the bones etc. Peel and crush the cloves of garlic and add that as well.

Add water until everything’s covered. Heat to a simmer then cover, turn down to low and let simmer for 3-4 hours. You can also toss everything in the crock pot and let simmer all day or overnight, but you won’t get as much stock unless you have a very large crock pot. I make this during the week in stages, first night I make the stock, the next night I make the soup.

Strain through a colander into a bowl. Go through the colander and pick off any additional bits of meat you missed the first time. Toss them in the stock pot, then discard everything else you strained out.

Soup

Turn the heat back up to medium until the stock is simmering.  Chop remaining celery, onions, and carrots into bite-size pieces, and add to pot.  Add the meat you set aside earlier plus noodles or rice, and simmer according to rice or noodle package directions (about 20 minutes for white rice, 40 for wild rice, 10 for rice noodles, 12 for corn/quinoa noodles). Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with chopped fresh parsley on top.

Either the stock or the soup can be frozen in freezer-bags. It’ll last longer if you make sure there’s no air trapped in the bag. The stock can be frozen in ice cube trays, then bagged for use in flavoring rice, pasta or sauces.

The traditional chicken soup recipe leaves a lot of room to play with flavors. Try adding artichoke hearts or spinach in the last ten minutes of cooking, or maybe a little lemon juice, black pepper, wild rice and fresh asparagus. Up the garlic content and add cilantro and chili peppers for a cold and flu soup.

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