This is a classic chicken noodle soup recipe. It is perfect for a cold winter day, when your family has the sniffles, or when you just want to eat something comforting.
We are all sick. My youngest got a cold first, and then me. It is a terrible head cold. A week later, we are on the mend, but my husband and my other son started coughing yesterday. Now we are all congested and coughing. Not fun. But I am well enough to take care of everyone else, and it is time for some chicken noodle soup.
Adapt the recipe to meet your needs. If you have different vegetables on hand, or you don’t have some vegetables, use what you have. Or if your family likes different vegetables, use what you like. You can also use dried herbs instead of fresh.
I have some chopped cooked chicken and reduced chicken stock from a rotisserie chicken we had earlier in the week. I love making my own chicken stock and keep using it up, so I keep making it. I reduced it to about 2/3 instead of all the way down to half, for the soup. If there isn’t enough stock, I might have to add water to the soup, which would just defeat the purpose of reducing.
I included carrots, celery, and potatoes. I usually use onion, but my husband won’t eat it if I put onions in the soup. And he’s sick, so I want him to eat this soup. He objects to the texture, so I use onion powder instead when I want to cater to his pickiness. If your family is fine with onion, include them. It’s better with onions!
Wash, peel, and dice vegetables to about 1/2 or 3/4 inch. Cut them as big or small as you like, but try to cut all vegetables about the same size. It is impossible to make them all the exact same size, but they can be sort of close. Mince the garlic.
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot on medium-high heat. Add oil and give it a minute to warm up.
Add your vegetables in batches; if you put everything in all at once, the pan will cool down and the veggies will steam and go mushy.
The other thing I do is salt my vegetables when I add them. In the end, it all goes in the same soup, and I usually have to add more salt at the very end anyways, so it works out. But salting the vegetables when they are added to the pot helps set their color and gives them flavor.
First add your potatoes, stirring frequently. You want to stir often, but not so often the potatoes can’t brown.
Once they have started to brown, add your carrots, still stirring frequently. If you are using onions, add those next.
When they are sizzling, add the celery. Continue to sauté, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are slightly browned.
Add garlic and sauté one minute more.
The potatoes and carrots will have an additional ten minutes to cook, since the noodles will have to cook, so they shouldn’t be completely cooked through; otherwise, they will be mushy when the soup is done.
Add chicken, chicken stock, and bay leaves. If you don’t have enough stock, add water as needed. Stir and scrape to get the stuck bits off the bottom of the pan and into the soup. Bring to a boil.
If you don’t have fresh herbs, use 1/3 the amount of dried herbs (and add them now). An easy way to cut them by a third is to use teaspoons instead of tablespoons.
Taste the soup and add as much salt as needed (if any). The salt will flavor the pasta, so it should go in first.
Add pasta. If you use a long pasta like fettuccine, break it up into bite-size pieces. Bring the soup back to a boil.
Set a timer for ten minutes or the amount of time on the pasta package. Reduce heat to a simmer.
Now it is time to rinse and chop the fresh herbs and put them in the soup. Herbs go brown (oxidize) if they are chopped too soon, so we wait until the soup is bubbling to prep them. Add them as soon as they are ready.
Add some frozen peas and corn.
Add paprika and pepper to taste.
When your timer goes off and your herbs and pepper are in, the soup is done. Enjoy your comfort food!