My Chicken Noodle Soup

The Recipe: Chicken Noodle Soup the way I make it, a meaty, noodle-y soup in a rich, flavorful stock. It just might be medicinal, in fact, when the cold and flu seasons are at their peaks, I call it "Get Well Soon Chicken Soup".

And hey, while I know strict carb watchers won't stand for noodles in their soup, this soup is actually low carb – that's thanks to an easy technique (really, just time and patience) that allows just a few noodles to plump into an illusion of oh-so-many. The result? Chicken noodle soup, just over a hundred calories per cup with 13 grams of protein – and the lots of noodles.

My Chicken Noodle Soup ♥ KitchenParade.com, with a special technique to turn just a few noodles into what seems like many more. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. And yes, Low Carb.

"Is there chicken soup?" he asked plaintively, eyes and nose red, holding back a sneeze. This man, this big hardy man, needed chicken soup. "Of course," I said, wondering if it were true and if not, how long it'd take me to deliver a steaming bowl of rich broth laden with slurpy, comforting noodles.

And so began the odyssey to document – to refine, to perfect – "my chicken noodle soup." Now I've been making big pots of chicken soup regularly forever and ever. But given my hapdash, hmmm, the dictionary says I mean slapdash no-recipe, never-the-same-pot-twice approach to chicken noodle soup back then, some pots were excellent, others forgettable.

But in last years, I've come to believe in perfecting the dishes we make most often: a little less slapdash, a lot more substance and style.

It turns out? I'm pretttttty darn particular about my chicken soup.

My Chicken Noodle Soup ♥ KitchenParade.com, with a special technique to turn just a few noodles into what seems like many more. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. And yes, Low Carb.

Alanna's No-Budging Rules for Chicken Noodle Soup

Now you make chicken soup how you make chicken soup. But when you're at my house? This is what's on the stove when someone's down with a cold or an easy, comfort-food supper is in order.

There's lots of chicken and it's diced, not pulled into strands. That's for texture contrast with the noodles.

The noodles are plump and flavorful – and plentiful without dominating the whole pot. That's why I call for just a few noodles, but let them plump up.

The vegetables are firm, not mushy. That's why they go in last. And no "added" vegetables, just carrots and celery.

You'll Like My Chicken Noodle Soup If You Like ...

... a hearty, meaty soup
... with rich-tasting broth
... firm vegetables
... plump noodles, just enough, not too many


MY CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

Hands-on time: 15 minutes over 45 minutes
Resting time aka "noodle plumping" time: 1 hour
Time to table: 1 3/4 hours
Makes 11 cups

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (don't skip, it makes all the difference ...)
  • 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 pound (450g) cooked chicken meat from a rotisserie chicken, preferably diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste (be generous)
  • Generous black pepper

  • 2 - 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 2 - 3 ribs celery, cut in chunks on an angle
  • 2 ounces (55g) medium-size dried pasta
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro

MAKE SOUP! In a large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat until shimmery. Stir in the onion and thyme, let them gently cook until the onion begins to soften. Add the stock and bring it to a boil. Add the chicken, salt and pepper, bring the stock back to a boil.

All at once, add the carrots, celery, pasta and parsley/cilantro, bring the stock back to a boil. Once it does, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and let the pot simmer, uncovered (so the broth can cook down a bit to concentrate its flavors ...) and stirring occasionally, for as long as the pasta package instructs. Test a noodle, make sure it's done, the noodles won't "cook" any more, they'll just plump up.

PATIENCE, GRASSHOPPER Once the noodles are cooked, turn off the heat, cover the pot and let it sit for an hour. Yes, one whole hour, it pays to plan ahead! During that critical hour's time, the vegetables will stay firm but the noodles will soak up the delicious stock. What starts off seeming like a totally skimpy amount of pasta turns into what tastes like a lot of plump, slurpy noodles totally worth the wait!

QUICK HEAT! Now turn the heat back on and bring the soup back to temperature. Taste the broth and adjust the salt and pepper, do be generous. Enjoy the soup with gusto!

LEFTOVER CHICKEN SOUP So good! It keeps for a couple of days. And because the noodles are already so plump, they don't absorb any more stock.

ALANNA's TIPS, SO MANY TIPS!
STOCK Keep things moving along by heating the chicken stock separately. I do it in the microwave, in fact, half the time I'm starting off with frozen chicken stock. If you don't have homemade chicken stock but are starting with a rotisserie chicken, time everything so that you make the stock first, then the soup. To do this, just pull the meat off the chicken (and refrigerate it until you're ready to make the soup itself), then drop the wings/bones/back into a stockpot with about 10 cups of water and let it simmer for an hour or two, more detail here, it's my No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock. Or use a good-quality chicken stock concentrate, over the years, I've used Better Than Bouillon with good results. Do watch the salt, however, you may not need to use as much as I do since my chicken stock has no added salt. One pot, I used half chicken stock and half corn stock (not "corn stalk" but "corn stock", that's what you get when you simmer fresh corn cobs (with out their kernels) on the stove for a few house. It was wonderful!

CHICKEN I swear, God's gift to home cooks is a just-roasted rotisserie chicken and that's the meat I use for chicken soup. The chicken must taste good, however. The best-tasting rotisserie chicken I've found for the price is at Sam's Club, they're often big and just $5. (Where do you buy yours? Let me know!) Not into rotisserie chicken? You could bake some chicken breasts or poach them, as I do for Lemon Chive Chicken Salad. Do watch/measure how much meat you use, a pound of cooked chicken makes for a really meaty soup, you could use a little more without trouble but if you get up to a pound and a half, say, increase the other ingredients proportionally. It's a small thing, perhaps, but I think the chicken pieces should be diced in neat cubes, not torn like pulled chicken.

OTHER VEGGIES To my taste, Chicken Noodle Soup isn't Chicken Noodle Soup without chunks of carrot and celery. And while I'm the queen of adding all kinds of extra vegetables to nearly everything else, to my taste, other veggies have no place in chicken soup! No zucchini, no okra, no purple carrots from Trader Joe's, no parsnips. Stick to the basics!

PASTA Now this is important. Stick with the two ounces of pasta. Two ounces is going to seem like no-pasta-at-all until after the pot has rested for an hour. If you put in more than two ounces? The pasta will absorb all the stock and you'll be left with noodle soup, not Chicken Noodle Soup. Now I know you're going to ask, can't we just cook the noodles separately and add them to the soup? We could ... but it's not the same. The noodles just taste so much better when they're cooked in chicken stock! Choose medium-size noodles, my favorites are medium penne and those corkscrew-style noodles (what're they called, again?) from the blue boxes from the Italian company De Cecco. Ha! De Cecco even sells directly on Amazon! However, at least here in St. Louis, De Cecco is easily found in nearly every grocery except those that only stock their own private label products. Steer away from the tiny pastas like riisi and ditalini. I avoid Trader Joe's pasta entirely, it's too-too soft.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH MY CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP Whenever I make soup for supper, I often time it so that there's fresh bread too, usually Our Daily Bread: My Easy Everyday Bread Recipe but some times cornbread, either Simple Cast Iron Southern Corn Bread or Sweet Cornbread. Add a salad and there's still room for a little dessert! Even pie!

NUTRITION INFORMATION
Per Cup: 109 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 30mg Cholesterol; 200mg Sodium; 7g Carb; 1g Fiber; 2g Sugar; 13g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 2 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = scant 1 cup (12g protein). This recipe has been "Alanna-sized".

For the record, I already know that My Chicken Noodle Soup warrants the coveted spot for 2018's "Most Useful" Recipe, just one recipe per year, they're all listed here, Best-Ever “Most Useful” Recipes 2002 – Present.


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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!






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