Cool weather means cool crisp breezy air and my favorite…..soup time! One of my favorite soups to cozy up to is classic chicken noodle soup. As you can see from the photos that I like to change up the noodles so it’s not always the same. You can change up the ingredients in the broth also, there are so many different ways to make s basic chicken soup broth.
Chicken broth made with fresh vegetables and herbs is just as healthy as it is delicious. Homemade chicken soup with out any artificial ingredients is pretty easy to make. I like to make a basic broth that can be easily stored and is versatile enough to be used in most recipes.First I start with the most fresh ingredients available. One of the best ways to infuse great flavor is to use fresh herbs. You can find fresh cut herbs in the produce section of your local grocery store, availability varies. I like to grow my own herbs, that way I know they are fresh and can have more the ones I use the most on hand.
I know this may seem a bit unrealistic to use fresh herbs from a herb garden if you live in an apartment. Most people think it’s easier to substitute with some bullion cubes or prepackaged chicken broth. I disagree, I feel it is easier to throw in some fresh veggies and even dried herbs. If you can even just substitute one ingredient for a fresh one that’s a step in the right direction. Do something like trying a prepackaged broth, use as whole chicken or even chicken legs or thighs with the bone and skin with fresh cut herbs. Try it and see to see the difference it makes. Once you get into the swing of using fresh ingredients and having them on hand, it will practically become second nature. First, you have to see the difference in flavor to realize the impact, not to mention the health benefits.
For instance, I turn this recipe which makes a huge pot of chicken broth into dinner for five and then extra packaged broth to have on hand. Once I drain out the broth from the simmer ingredients I remove the chicken, then scoop the broth into containers to cool and package up. I then add more carrots and celery with the cubed up cooked chicken back into the pot to eat that day.
I cook for a family of five and this recipe makes enough for dinner and tons of leftovers to freeze and use when I need chicken broth for a recipe. For instance, the next time I need to make chicken enchiladas and need 1 cup of chicken broth I pull one out of the freezer. This way I may fresh enchiladas with homemade chicken broth in less time. You don’t have to make fresh chicken stock every time you need it. Having homemade chicken broth on hand is what making it from scratch practical. You don’t need fancy or expensive containers either, just as long as they form an airtight seal when closed.
You can also use:
TIP: Liquids expand when frozen, always leave at least an inch of room at the top for expansion and follow the manufacture’s instructions.
This is actually a fairly easy recipe, most of the cooking is throwing it in a pot and letting it simmer for a few hours. The key is a low simmer or about 1 1/2 – 2 hrs for infusing flavor and added health benefits.
For this recipe, I used a tall stainless steel 8 qt pot, which makes about 6 quarts of soup. I usually save 1-2 quarts of broth from each batch. I separate into 1 and 2 cup containers to package up and store. I like storing in small amounts, that way if I only need 1 cup I have access to it without having to thaw it out first and waste any. If I need more I simply take out a few containers. The amount may vary depending on how much the batch yields, how much evaporates while cooking, and how much you serve.
- 1 whole 6-7 lb chicken preferably with the neck
- 3 large yellow or white onions chopped into large pieces
- 2 large shallots peeled and chopped in half.
- 3 medium carrots peeled and chopped into thirds
- 5 celery stalks cut in half and all celery leaves.
- 2 thyme sprigs or 1-2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 3 rosemary sprigs or 1-2 tsp dried rosemary leaves
- 4-5 Parsley stems with leaves or 2-3 tsp dried parsley
- 2 tsp salt or more
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 lb cooked noodles of your choice
Place all ingredients in a large pot ( I use 8 or 9 quart ), add enough water to pot to cover all ingredients and leave about 3 inches room at top for steam.
Bring to a slight boil on medium/ high heat. Once it begins to boil, reduce heat to low/ medium cover and let simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hrs.
You can let simmer longer if you wish. You want the temperature of the chicken to reach 165 degrees in the breast to ensure it is cooked thoroughly.
When done, remove chicken from broth, set aside and let cool.
Using a cheesecloth or slotted spoon remove the rest of the ingredients from the broth and discard.
Now you have a pot of plain broth left in the pot. What I normally do is pour any broth I wish to save into containers at this point. I leave as much as I will need to finish soup, depending on how much soup is needed that day.
With the remaining broth, add 1/2 cup dry white wine and chopped reserved carrots and celery, and Simmer, in the meantime remove chicken meat from bone and remove any skin. Chop into small chunks and add to broth.
You want the chicken broth to simmer at least 30 minutes to cook out the alcohol from the wine and make sure the vegetables are tender. While soup simmers, taste a small amount and add any more herbs, salt or pepper as needed. Salt will cook out, taste first then add what is needed and always taste again before serving.
Also, while soup is simmering cook 1 lb of pasta in another large pot of salted water.
Drain and add to bowl, then add rest of soup to bowl.
Broth will be good refrigerated for a few days, or frozen up to a few months. The seasonings and herbs are a guideline, add as much or as little as you wish for your taste preference.
I like adding a small amount of white wine, I feel it gives a unique flavor that I enjoy.
I ALWAYS keep cooked noodles separate, even after serving I store leftover noodkes separtely form the soup. If you store noodles in soup they will become SOGGY!!!
If you are unfamiliar with cheesecloth, it is a light fabric that makes straining liquid very easy.
To use a cheesecloth: simply secure cloth over a large bowl and pour soup over the bowl with a large spoon or ladle and let the cheesecloth pick out all large pieces from the soup. When done discard cheesecloth and discarded ingredients, and place clean broth back into the pan.
Again, you can add more ingredients such as garlic or other herbs. This is my basic recipe for a chicken broth that is versatile and easily used in many different types of recipes. When you use the broth in another recipe, you can then add more flavor or seasonings that go along with the recipe you are making. For example, when I make chicken enchiladas, I use this broth and add it to tomato sauce along with a little water then add chili powder, cumin, and Cayenne powder and some fresh cut peppers.
This chicken soup recipe can be used in so many ways. Every time I make some chicken soup I reserve some broth to freeze for future recipes. I have to admit, when I or anyone in my house gets sick, I use the whole pot. Chicken broth made from boiling the whole chicken with the bones has a lot of healing properties. Quite honestly, when I’m sick I drink this homemade broth out of a coffee mug.
How do you like your chicken soup?