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I have started and then stopped writing this post about half a dozen times. After all, if you want to make soup, you probably already know how. And if you don’t want to, you’re happy with the canned stuff (some of which is pretty gourmet) and you don’t want to read about soup making.

But since I have recently taken up bread making, something I didn’t think I’d ever try, I want to encourage you to try soup making. Just once. Yes it will take you awhile. But I promise, promise, promise, on everything I hold sacred: my kids and white trash toffee, that it is worth it. Plus, it’s impressive, right?  Maybe there is something more impressive but I have my priorities and delicious food is at the top of the list.

So, to make my version of chicken noodle soup, you will need:

  • 1 5-6 lbs fryer/roaster chicken
  • 1 large bag of noodles of your choice. I use No Yolk Extra Broad. My mom used to use these frozen egg noodles but I haven’t seen them in years.
  • For the broth: two large carrots quartered OR a handful of baby carrots, one large onion sliced in half, at least four or five stalks of inner celery, leaves still on.
  • For the soup: 1medium to large onion, diced, 2 large carrots peeled and diced or 2 handfuls of baby carrots diced, 2-3 celery stalks diced.
  • Optional for the soup: one can mexicorn, half of a pepper, diced, some people like thyme, sage, bay leaves. Whatever you cook your chicken with.
  • 12 cups of chicken stock (this can be made up of any combination of the stock made boiling the chicken and store bought)
  • dried rosemary
  • kosher salt, pepper
  • fresh parsley
Please note: this method assumes you don’t mind cleaning out a raw chicken and then dealing with a whole cooked chicken. If meat just ain’t your thing, you’ll need about 4 Cups of shredded chicken from a rotisserie or some roasted chicken breasts (at least try bone in).
1. Get out that large stock pot you never use. Take all the goodies out of your chicken. Save ’em if you know what to do with them, otherwise, discard. Rinse out chicken and place in stock pot. Leave the skin on. Add: carrots, onions and celery, and a generous palmful of salt and some pepper. Fill the pot with cold water until the chicken is just covered. Place over high heat until water boils, reduce to simmer and cook until your chicken is done (165 degrees, or if your my mom, until you can pull the leg off).
2. Once your chicken is cooked, remove from broth with large tongs and place in a shallow baking dish to cool. Using a mesh strainer, strain out all the cooked veggies from your broth. Place 4-8 cups of  your homemade stock in another soup pot/stock pot/ dutch oven/whatever you intend to cook soup in. My husband likes the fat, so I add about 8 cups of homemade stock and about half of the fat that floats to the top. He’s right that it adds flavor. If that offends you, you can put a moistened paper towel or cheesecloth in your strainer to catch some of the fat. Or you can use all Swanson’s broth. I add at least 4 cups of store bought broth to bring the total near 12 cups and for the extra flavor. Then add your diced veggies and bring to a simmer.
3. Remove the chicken from the bone. Make whatever size pieces you want in your soup and add to your soup pot. Use the dark meat too! If you feel like you’ve got enough chicken in the soup, but there is still some left on the bone, fridge or freeze it for chicken salad, chicken in your mac and cheese, extra chicken on taco night, whatever. Add at least 1/2 Tbsp of salt, pepper and at least 1 teasp. of rosemary. Cover and simmer for up to 5 hours. Stir and taste occasionally, adding rosemary, salt, etc.
4. When you are getting close to dinner time, bring your mixture as close to a boil as it will come. Follow the package directions on your noodles for how long they need to cook till al dente. Once you add the noodles to the boiling soup, make sure you have enough broth to cover them. If not, add more store bought broth. If you’re going to use some diced pepper, put it in now. I usually try to cook my noodles with the lid on to keep the moisture in, but I use a heavy dutch oven lid. You do what you have to. Once the noodles have cooked, you’re almost home!
5. Season your soup. Taste it to makes sure you’ve got enough salt and pepper. Add some heat at this point if you want. Add a little more rosemary, or any of your favorite spices to have with chicken. If you’re using a can of mexicorn, add it now and heat through. Chop a little fresh parsley, stir in and serve. Sure, it took you a little time, but I bet your glad you did it! Can be frozen for up to a month.
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