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Chicken Noodle Soup
October 10, 2012 3:57 PM   Subscribe

The broth is just chicken and onions, with a confetti of vegetables added at the end where their flavor remains bright. The noodles are wide and winding... But, for me, the real triumph was giving the chicken parts and onion a saute... before adding water to make the soup. This deepened flavor base makes for magical soup, with a bronzed color, more robust flavor and significantly reduced prep time. ... With all of the blustery, cold days to go this winter, everyone... deserves to have a homemade, from-scratch chicken noodle soup that can be pulled off in just about an hour in their back pocket.

Thanks to Science! we now know that chicken soup, if not able to cure colds, can in fact mitigate upper respiratory tract infections by inhibiting neutrophil migration.
posted by Egg Shen (57 comments total) 121 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Traditional chicken soup was prepared according to a family recipe, which will be referred to as “Grandma’s soup” (C. Fleischer; personal communication; 1970)."

And they performed serial dilutions? I'm in love.

Also, Smitten Kitchen is my only source for recipes these days. So good.
posted by impishoptimist at 4:06 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


gluten free alternative?
posted by robbyrobs at 4:09 PM on October 10, 2012


gluten free alternative?

Well, if the Gluten-free Godess® can be trusted in such matters...
posted by Egg Shen at 4:12 PM on October 10, 2012


I love Smitten Kitchen! I've made several recipes from her site and they have turned out well. Bookmarking this.
posted by maryrussell at 4:17 PM on October 10, 2012


Gluten-free pasta possibilities. Unless there's some other sneaky gluten in the soup I'm not seeing. You could use rice. Or thin slices of summer squash, cooked in the soup just enough to become noodle-like.
posted by rtha at 4:20 PM on October 10, 2012


The saute sounds interesting, and I'll give it a try sometime. I usually oven roast the chicken parts for 30 minutes at 400. After I dump the chicken in the stock pot, I put the vegetables in the roasting pan used for the chicken, then put the veggies in the oven for the same time and heat. While the veggies roast, I can skim the foam and fat from the proto-stock. When the veggies are done, they go in the pot.

I don't like carrots in my stock, though. They make it too sweet. Leeks, onions, garlic, salt, black peppercorns. Either thyme and bay leaf or soy sauce and ginger. I use thighs, wings, carcasses, and as many necks as I can get my hands on. And while noodles are nice, I agree with Mr. Sendak. Chicken soup with rice is nice.

The neck meat, while a pain to pull off, is awesome for fried rice.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:23 PM on October 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm having game hens tomorrow....and now I'll be having chicken soup the next day.
posted by The Whelk at 4:25 PM on October 10, 2012


admit it, Whelk, you're only having "game hen" so you can make "gay men" jokes
posted by koeselitz at 4:34 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is my go to chicken soup recipe, ready in an hour and a half..and very, very good.
posted by HuronBob at 4:36 PM on October 10, 2012


And celery. How did I forget the celery?
posted by Ghidorah at 4:39 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I discovered the magic of parsnips only recently. Adds a touch of "wintery" to any dish.

I once lightly battered and fried some and they were delicious but I forget the recipe.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:49 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm having game hens tomorrow....and now I'll be having chicken soup the next day.

Whelk, thank you. Now I know exactly what to do with the coming onslaught of pheasant this fall!
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:51 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yay for soup!
Our extended summer has just switched itself off here today and it's now decidedly autumnal.
Time to haul out the old stock pot.
posted by islander at 4:56 PM on October 10, 2012


The best part about chicken soup is that you also get to have chicken salad the next day.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:03 PM on October 10, 2012


*pines for pheasant and the resulting soup*

Parsnips! I always forget about them, which is a shame because they're fantastic in the all-the-root-vegetables-roasted thing we often make.
posted by rtha at 5:14 PM on October 10, 2012


No no, what you do is you go get yourself a rotisserie chicken. Cut off the meat and set it aside. Throw the skin an bones into a pot and cover them with water. Add bay leaf, carrots, celery, and whatever else you feel like. Heat that up and let it simmer for as long as you can stand it. An hour's good, three is better. I'd be willing to try half an hour if I were in an ungodly hurry, but the advantage of letting this take a long time is that your place will smell amazing for as long as you let it simmer.

When you can't take it any more, fish out the chunks and pour the whole bit through a wire strainer. Use some cheesecloth if you like your soup more clear. You now have bitchin' chicken stock, and it almost doesn't matter what you add to it. Fresh carrots & celery, turnip, pasta, rice, etc. When it's almost ready, chop up all that cooked chicken meat you set aside earlier and stir it in just until it's warm - it's already cooked, don't cook it again.

I'm a freak about keeping the pasta firm, so I usually cook it separate, store it separate, and stir a helping into each bowl as it's served. Overnight, sitting in all that broth, is when the noodles will really go soft. Keep them in separate containers and it's al dente all the way.
posted by echo target at 5:20 PM on October 10, 2012 [25 favorites]


I like doing the pasta separately, too. Pasta, especially dry pasta, gives off so much starch. I don't like it gumming up my soup, so if I'm using noodles, I'll cook them in a different pan, which is annoying, so it's usually rice.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:27 PM on October 10, 2012


In this household every chicken carcass goes into the slow cooker with whatever veggies we have on hand. Next morning, delicious stock. Got one going right now within six feet of this laptop, in fact.

Also, once you've done it ten or fifteen times making your own noodles doesn't add more than a few minutes to soup prep time. And I add star anise to chicken noodle soup.
posted by sy at 5:36 PM on October 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


In my family, we add a small handful of fresh spinach and grated pecorino romano right at the table. The leaves become gently cooked and the cheese is salty and tangy. She often adds brussel sprouts or cabbage to the traditional medley of veg- it's the only way I'll eat brussel spouts.

I can (and do!) eat her chicken soup for days. Yum!
posted by Mouse Army at 5:39 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love roasting a chicken because it makes for a great meal, and then I get to make stock with the leftover carcass. If there's leftover meat I pull it off the bones, then simmer the bones and reserved neck for two hours. After that, I add onions, and celery if I have it, then let it simmer for another hour. Making stock from the leftover chicken just strikes me as absolutely righteous in an unapologetic way.
posted by mollweide at 5:46 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


admit it, Whelk, you're only having "game hen" so you can make "gay men" jokes

For all that I love cooking them under a brick, I will never again be able to buy a game hen without snickering thanks to reading this.

No no, what you do is you go get yourself a rotisserie chicken.

Ugh, too salty. Great to eat while drinking, but I've not found rotisserie chickens from my local grocery store good for soup. You may have access to better rotisserie chickens than I can get, though.

Anyway, I only make chicken soup from leftover roast chicken; I've never gone and bought raw chicken just for soup. I've just used it as day three on the roast chicken / chicken salad / chicken soup trajectory, but I can imagine that soup from raw chicken would be a lot meatier, if not tastier.
posted by Forktine at 5:53 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


No no, what you do is you go get yourself a rotisserie chicken. Cut off the meat and set it aside. Throw the skin an bones into a pot and cover them with water.

Wait what? You use the delicious crunchy salty skin for stock?
posted by gyc at 5:55 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


For all that I love cooking them under a brick...

Details, please? I love my clay pot--but--a brick?
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:59 PM on October 10, 2012


1 raw chicken. 1 onion. 4 carrots. 4 stalks celery. Bay leaf. Cover with cold water. Simmer until the meat falls off the bone. Remove bones, skin, shred chicken. Salt. Eat with fresh baked bread. Anything more is overcomplicating.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:04 PM on October 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Nathancaswell, it seems like a waste of good meat to me. To get good stock, you need to boil for a while, but that seems antithetical to getting usable meat. That's why I use a chicken carcass.
posted by mollweide at 6:07 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just a note: Pressure cooking reduces the time of making ridiculously good chicken stock from ~3 hours to ~30-45 minutes.

And it's more flavorful, to boot. I've chucked my crockpot, cast-iron and everything else aside and basically make all my meals in a pressure cooker or rice cooker these days.

Best decision of my medical student life.
posted by kurosawa's pal at 6:08 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Details, please? I love my clay pot--but--a brick?

There are a gazillion recipes online for chicken under a brick, but game hens work better in my opinion -- just remember that it is smaller, so adjust accordingly and don't burn the crap out of it. In the simplest version, you butterfly the bird (easy peasy, takes like one minute, again you can find photos and videos online), rub it with some olive oil and spices, place flat in a hot cast iron pan and use a second pan, bricks, or whatever to weight it from above. Flip when it's halfway done.

It's like the poultry version of a panini (and you could probably use a panini press for this if you had one...), and you should end up with something golden on the outside, juicy inside. You can do it on the stove, on the grill, or in the oven. All it takes is a pan that can take heat, the bird, and a weight. If the recipe looks complicated, move on -- this is basic, simple food and the recipe should honor that.
posted by Forktine at 6:09 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wait for free-range chickens to be on sale somewhere, buy a few and spend a little time breaking them down. Thighs, breasts, wings etc all go into portion bags and the carcasses get saved until I can fill the big stock-pot. The carcases get defrosted, given a quick bake to golden with the stock veg and in they go with minimal seasoning. You end up with a really golden tasty stock this way.

I freeze any stock I'm not going to use right away - some in meal-size lots and some in ice-cube trays for sauces. Seriously, 20 minutes prep and a few hours or so of unattended cooking give you the basics to do just about anything for dinner.
posted by ninazer0 at 6:31 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


So what you're saying is that chicken soup not only cures colds, but it remedies some basic level of kitchen disorganization too? Well, I never.
posted by sneebler at 6:48 PM on October 10, 2012


Here is a super simple, with illustrations, guide to cooking chicken (or game hen) under a brick; here is Bittman's.

And then, in keeping with the theme of this FPP, turn the carcasses into soup the next day.
posted by Forktine at 6:50 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's easy to take meat off a chicken neck if you use a fork to scrape it off.

I like chichen skins fried. They have a wonderful crunch.

Also, nut-Meg and carrots in chicken soup... Mmmm.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:54 PM on October 10, 2012


I wish I liked dark meat, or lived with someone who did. I never make chicken soup because there's no way to make decent stuff without wasting meat or eating something I find gross (boiled dark meat), as far as I can tell.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:00 PM on October 10, 2012


Oh this is timely, I've just put six ducks into the fridge.
We're doing this with three of them tomorrow.
posted by Lou Stuells at 7:30 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember this blog when it chronicled dating and not cooking!
posted by onlyconnect at 7:51 PM on October 10, 2012


If you're lazy and not skittish about leaving an oven on overnight - place your chicken carcass, bones, onion, etc into your heavy stock pot. Cover with water and season. Bring the water to a boil, put a lid on the pot, then chuck the whole thing in a 200ºF oven overnight.

You wake up to beautiful dark stock and a home that smells like chickeny heaven.

Strain, drain, portion, freeze stock as usual.
posted by device55 at 8:06 PM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I remember this blog when it chronicled dating and not cooking!

Funny how that works....
posted by Floydd at 8:15 PM on October 10, 2012


It's a badge of honour to do a recipe off the top of my head and then see nearly the same thing on Smitten Kitchen a few weeks later.

I save rotisserie chicken carcasses in the freezer, when I have 3 carcasses and some leftover chicken too small for a meal or chicken salad then it's time to get my soup on. My recipe is essentially the same as Smitten Kitchen except that I keep a bag of kitchen scraps in the freezer (onion ends, bits of potato peel, corn husks, bean ends, etc.) that goes in with a few pepper corns while making the stock.

The starch from the potato makes for a tasty soup, but it also means it's somewhat cloudy even after straining. Who cares, it's worth it. I also find that with rotisserie chickens there's rarely need to add salt. After straining the stock (no meat wasted there), throw in new veggies and cubed up chicken, egg noodles, some parsley and presto, best soup ever.

Make some bretzen while the soup simmers and you'll impress anyone and everyone.
posted by furtive at 8:28 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh this is timely, I've just put six ducks into the fridge.

Oh sweet I know which fridge to rob now.
posted by The Whelk at 8:33 PM on October 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


I've just put six ducks into the fridge.
We're doing this with three of them tomorrow.


Hi. I'd like to be your friend. When can I come over?
posted by Ghidorah at 8:53 PM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh, internet, how I love you. First comment:
just what i need! any ideas for chicken substitutions?
Seriously, though, since I started adding ginger (and cilantro, if you go that way) thanks to this recipe from Gourmet, I can't imagine chicken soup without it.
posted by purpleclover at 8:59 PM on October 10, 2012


My friends mother adds just a hint of cinnamon to her stock, and it tastes amazing. I bet ginger would be great too. And it's not proper chicken noodle soup without a bunch of chopped dill on top.
posted by tatiana131 at 9:29 PM on October 10, 2012


My husband, before he was my husband, was unwell one weekend - so unwell that he took an unprecedented two days off work (he's a chef). I spent the first day looking after him, mopping his brow and bringing him jelly, and he repaid the favour by making chicken soup for my mum, sister and I.

He roasted the chicken wings in the oven for an hour or two and poached the chicken thighs with the roasted wings and onions etc etc to make the stock.

Once the stock was made, he served it in a bowl with finely chopped vegetables, including snowpeas chopped into tiny strips, heaped at the bottom, with cooked chicken in cubes. The veggies had been cooked separately from the stock. Hidden in the mound was a poached egg.

Best chicken soup ever.
posted by jonathanstrange at 9:40 PM on October 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


Who is Egg Shen and where did they come from? 70 posts in under 3 months. I did not get up this morning dreaming of chicken noodle soup, but now it's all I can think about. For someone who has never made soup before, are there any classic blunders I should be worried about?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:40 PM on October 10, 2012


Regarding the use of meat for making soup: according to McGee, using meat to make stocks (and thus soup) generally results in a richer flavour. Bones are good for extracting the gelatin that makes the soup feel "full", but meat is where the flavour comes from. Chicken legs are a great source of gelatin too.

Chinese chicken soup is classically a whole chicken, ginger and scallions with some soy sauce. I like to add garlic too.
posted by destrius at 11:23 PM on October 10, 2012


Lou Stuells: "Oh this is timely, I've just put six ducks into the fridge. "

In a row?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:24 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


In a row?

Preparation is half the battle.
posted by eriko at 11:43 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Heston's.

The secret? Milk powder. Seriously.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:57 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh sweet I know which fridge to rob now.

You may want to evaluate how he got the ducks in the first place. *sound of rifle cocking*
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 4:04 AM on October 11, 2012


Capons, people. Capons.
posted by Kabanos at 6:16 AM on October 11, 2012


Off topic but; What's with the "back pocket" formulation? Pulled off "in one pot" or "on an intake manifold" or "over a campfire" maybe, but in my pocket?

Also, not fully from scratch: "3 ounces dried egg noodles"
posted by achrise at 6:32 AM on October 11, 2012


But, for me, the real triumph was giving the chicken parts and onion a saute... before adding water to make the soup. This deepened flavor base makes for magical soup

Leave out the chicken, and you have one of the two secrets to making good French Onion soup.
posted by pla at 7:30 AM on October 11, 2012


Gah. Where were all you duck enthusiasts on pluck 'n' guts day?
But if there's ever a MA meetup further west than goddamn Cambridge, I'll bring duck eggs aplenty for all
posted by Lou Stuells at 8:03 AM on October 11, 2012


Whenever I buy chicken, I do so from the meat counter of a local market. They butcher all their meat, so I know that, even if it's not quite the free-range stuff you get at the farmer's market (and that comes frozen, so I'd have to plan in advance, which doesn't happen), it's at least order of magnitude safer than the bird that was shrink-wrapped 500 miles away.

I always get the bone-in meat because it's cheaper and bones = stock. However, I live alone, so the bones from one dish are never enough to justify making stock and into the freezer they go. After doing this for a summer... I have a lot of bones and scraps on hand, along with a bag of frozen leek ends and ~10 cups of stock from the last time I bothered to boil a carcass' worth of meat.

This recipe is the perfect excuse to buy some more meat, but also dispose of a Tupperware's worth of legs and thighs. A friend bought me Beard on Pasta for my birthday, so I think I have a checklist for my next lazy Saturday. Thanks.
posted by Turkey Glue at 8:29 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


So many great ideas to try here! I'll add a couple of my own. When we roast a chicken and don't make gravy, we save the pan drippings and refrigerate them in a bowl. This yields two priceless ingredients: schmaltz, which can be substituted for butter or shortening to make the best biscuits or dumplings ever, and a gelatinous disc of dark brown concentrated awesome which can be added to the chicken broth to put it over the top. It can also be frozen for later use.

Dumpling recipe using schmaltz:

2 cups AP flour (I often sub in 1/2 cup whole wheat)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder (can be omitted or increased to suit your density preference)
3 tablespoons schmaltz, chilled so it's as solid as possible
pinch of pepper (I like white)
a little dried sage &/or thyme (or whatever you like. My grandma added dill to hers)
2/3 cup chicken broth

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl, cut in the schmaltz with a fork, then work it in evenly by squeezing with your hands. Add in the broth & mix. Cover and let rest for at least 20 minutes, then form into a dough ball without overworking to make a more tender dumpling. Dumplings can be rolled out and cut, or just dropped by teaspoon into boiling soup. Cook covered at low boil for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
posted by gimli at 8:34 AM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]




I'll have you know I'm prepared right now to tie up and stuff some gay men.

I mean game hens.

pardon.
posted by The Whelk at 2:49 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


oooh. Duck fat subbed for schmaltz. I'm upping the ante!

I have eaten
the ducks
that were in
the smoker
...
Forgive me
they were delicious
so crispy
and so tender

posted by Lou Stuells at 6:31 PM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


mmm I think I'm hungry.. :))
posted by cristianbernath at 7:30 AM on October 16, 2012


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