I tried. I really tried. I always start out to make plain chicken noodle soup, and then I get going with the vegetables and can’t stop.
This will be a quick version. Well, maybe not really quick, but quicker than when I start with a whole chicken.
After work the other day, I was staring at my list of veggies that I keep on my fridge, trying to think of what I was in the mood for. It’s cold and rainy today, and I could only think of soup. My husband came home, I mentioned soup, and he said “chicken noodle soup!”
A note about ingredients: normally for the best flavor, I’d want to use a whole chicken. But honestly, I hate deboning the chicken and dealing with the grease from the skin, etc. So I keep organic skinless, boneless chicken thighs from Costco in my freezer for whenever I want to make chicken soup, pot pie, paprikash, etc.
Let’s make soup – if you’re new to making homemade soups, I’ll walk you through it.
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with Vegetables
Makes 2 large dinner portions
1 quart water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup diced zucchini
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup chopped kale
1/2 cup frozen corn
8 ounces noodles (for GF, I use broken pieces of brown rice spaghetti)
1 quart organic chicken broth (optional)
Put chicken, water and salt into large soup pot. Bring to boil, and simmer for about one hour. If chicken is frozen solid, that’s okay. Just simmer for about 1/2 hour, then reach in with tongs and break apart the chicken pieces. Continue cooking for second 1/2 hour. The chicken should be cooked through and very tender by this point. (If it doesn’t shred easily, cook a little more.) Pull chicken out of its broth and set aside to cool a bit. When it’s warm to the touch, keep 8-12 ounces out to shred with two forks (or your fingers) for this recipe, and move the rest to the refrigerator or freezer to use for another purpose. (You needed to simmer the full amount of chicken, though, to make a rich broth.)
Add onion, celery, parsley and thyme to broth in pot. Simmer until tender.
Turn off heat and add shredded cooked chicken and diced raw zucchini to pot. (You are now done cooking in this pot – the diced zucchini will cook just sitting in the hot broth.)
In a small to medium covered saucepan, steam carrots and cauliflower in 1/4 cup water until tender. Strain, saving vegetable broth in freezer jar to save for future vegetable soup. Add strained carrot and cauliflower to pot.
In same small saucepan, steam kale and corn in 1/4 cup water. When tender, strain, saving broth as you did with the carrot/cauli mixture. Add strained kale and corn to pot.
Stir soup well and heat up a little if it has cooled off. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. If you would prefer more broth than this recipe provides, open a quart of organic chicken broth and add according to your family’s needs. We don’t add a whole lot of noodles, so this amount of broth is sufficient for us. But if you like a lot of noodles, you’ll probably need extra broth.
(You may be wondering why I don’t just cook all the vegetables together in the chicken broth. If I were making vegetable soup, where I want the broth to taste like all of the vegetables, I would do just that. But I want this broth to taste like chicken! I made the mistake once making soup the long way – boiling a whole chicken, standing there forever deboning it, cutting up the celery, onion and carrots. I cooked all of these veggies in the chicken broth, and it wound up tasting like carrots! It totally overpowered the chicken flavor. Never again! So it’s worth it to me to labor just a teeny bit more to keep the flavors separate until last minute and then add the sweet vegetables like carrots and corn at the very end.)
Cook noodles in a pot of salted boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Strain and add to individual bowls, if possible. (I do this for two reasons. Number One, hopefully there will be enough soup for leftovers, and I can’t stand water-logged noodles. And Number Two, my husband likes a lot more noodles in his soup than I like, so we’re both happy!)
Ladle soup over noodles in bowls. Serve with grated romano cheese, if you like. Enjoy!
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