Moms and grandmas were right! The best “cure” for the common cold is chicken noodle soup! And why not, right? It’s loaded with healthy proteins, vitamins, minerals and carbs for energy. Chunks of chicken, oodles of noodles, and fresh veggies all swimming in a throat-soothing broth. A super food all in one piping hot bowl! When I was little, I think I added just as many crackers as I did soup! Luckily, I’ve “mostly” outgrown that habit. But I do still enjoy a few broken saltines in my soup! Serve with a hunk of homemade bread slathered with butter for dunking, and I’m a kid all over again! The hubs was so happy eating his, that he had a smile wide enough to eat a banana sideways! 🙂
I do believe it was my best pot ever, and thankfully, I remembered to write down all of my changes. I’ve always been complimented on my chicken noodle soup and used to sell it by the gallon, literally, during flu season when I catered. People couldn’t get enough of it! And we enjoy it every fall, winter and spring, but this time, I decided to play with it a little because I do tire of making the same things over and over again. I didn’t want to mess with it too much, as I do make a good pot to start with, but just decided to kick it up a tad. Man was it ever delicious! I can’t wait for you to try it!
I think the only other improvement would be to use better noodles. Homemade if possible next time! I used a cheaper, off-brand and they didn’t do as well as normally, broke up a little, so, lesson learned. But no harm done! It’s still absolutely phenomenal! And you can add whatever kind of noodles you enjoy the most! Short skinny ones, wide dumpling ones, even spaghetti! (Did she say spaghetti??) Sure! Why not, right? Kind of like Ramen without the perm! I actually made it with spaghetti noodles once in a pinch, and it was delicious and so much fun to twirl! So you just add whatever kind you like. It’s yours to eat and play with so have a little fun! There’s all kinds of funky shapes and sizes of pasta, literally hundreds. You can even add several fun shapes and cheer up someone with the sniffles. Nothing like “wheels, “little ears”, alphabet, stars and shells to put smiles back on faces! 🙂
I used wide egg dumpling noodles…
…and fully loaded it with chicken, celery, onions, sweet baby carrots and crimini mushrooms!
I put it back onto the stove, got it very hot again and gently stirred in a bit of cold milk mixed with cornstarch, just a little, to give a slightly velvety texture. Not thicken it really, but just give it a little bit of body to cling to the spoon and not run down the chin!
This pot of chicken noodle soup was the best pot I have ever made or tasted in my LIFE. I don’t mean this arrogantly in any way, I don’t have a snooty bone in my entire body, but it just is really that good. You’re really going to love this and I hope you make it because it’s something that you’re craving and not because anyone is sick or recovering from something awful that has happened. But if it’s something needed, it sure will be appreciated. And might even hurry up the healing if only to even just pick up the spirits! We really do seem to heal faster when we’re happy! So keep this one handy, if we’re in for a bad winter, colds and chills are sure to come! And this chicken noodle soup will warm the tummy, heart and soul. 🙂
WORLD’S BEST CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
Makes about 1 1/2 gallons (But goes FAST!) *Freezable
1 whole stewing chicken or 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 large bay leaves, 4 if small
enough water to cover chicken
6 cups chicken stock, (the water you cooked the chicken in)
1 (32 oz.) box chicken broth
1/3 cup Superior Touch Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes, *or add fresh (1 Tbl. minced) just before serving
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp Herbes De Provence
1/8 tsp. dried thyme, crushed between your fingers when adding to the pot
1/16 tsp. onion powder
1 (12-16 oz.) bag sweet baby carrots, sliced into thirds or fourths depending on size of carrots
1 large onion, large diced (or one medium + 1 small)
3 large ribs celery, thickly sliced
1 (8 oz.) container fresh sliced crimini mushrooms, sliced again in half
2 Tbl. butter
half of a 1 lb. bag (just eyeball it) egg noodles, skinny, wide, or dumpling (or homemade)
2 Tbl. cornstarch
2 Tbl. cold milk
saltines, oyster crackers or bread ‘n butter if desired
Rinse chicken with cold water inside and out, and be sure to remove any “innards”. (I discard the innards, but if you like them, save them for another use.) Place whole chicken in large pot. Add water to cover the bird plus an inch. Add bay leaves. Bring to a boil, skim off the “foamy stuff” with a large spoon, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about an hour and 30 minutes. You may need to CAREFULLY turn your chicken over halfway through if it wants to stick up a bit. *If using chicken breasts, follow the same directions but only simmer chicken for 20-30 minutes.
When done, CAREFULLY remove chicken from pot onto a platter, cover loosely with foil until cool enough to handle. *Remember there will be very hot water inside the cavity of the chicken. So please do this carefully, dumping that out into the pot as you remove it, so you don’t burn yourself! *Also give the pot a stir. The chicken will be VERY tender when done, and a wing or leg may fall to the bottom. Be sure to get that!
Remove 6 cups stock from pot into heat-proof pitcher or pan. You can strain this or not. Completely up to you. Save rest of chicken stock for another use. (Freezes well in a container or ice cube trays for gravies and sauces when you only need a little. When frozen, pop cubes out into a freezer baggie. 1 cube equals 1 Tbl. but measure your tray first to make sure.) Pour the 6 cups stock back into the pot. While chicken is cooling, add rest of ingredients EXCEPT mushrooms and noodles.
Bring to a boil and then reduce to a nice simmer and cook veggies about 4-5 minutes. Now add the mushrooms and noodles. Stir. Return to a boil to get it going again, then reduce to a nice simmer and continue to simmer til noodles are about half done. About another 4-5 minutes. While veggies and noodles are simmering away, remove meat from chicken and add as you go. (Don’t add the skin or fat, of course, just the meat.)
Now mix together the milk and cornstarch and slowly stir in and just continue to simmer, another 2-3 minutes until noodles are tender and soup is velvety. Take a noodle out and try it to make sure they’re done. *Also, don’t stir this very much! You’ll just break up the noodles.
Serve with saltines, oyster crackers or buttered bread if desired.
Makes about 5-6 quarts. But don’t worry. It sounds like a lot, but the 2 of us go through this easily within only 3 days!
*Note: I use “Superior Touch Better Than Boullion Chicken Base”. And it is really good! But any good quality chicken base will work well. *It comes in a jar next to the boullion. 😉
And one last thing (I promise!), if you need to add more of the broth that you stewed the chicken in, (if your chicken is large, or you added too many noodles, etc.) just nuke 1-2 cups broth with 1-2 teaspoons of the boullion/chicken base until dissolved, then add to pot. Simmer just a minute longer. (*If you just use the plain stock, it will make it a little bit bland.)