Because of the snowpocalypse*, this seemed like the perfect thing to make for dinner…that and the fact that we had an excessive amount of leftover grilled/roasted chicken in our fridge. While I often make this with fresh chicken, this is a perfect use for leftover chicken or one of those wonderfully convenient store bought rotisserie chickens.
We have all had chicken noodle soup, we’ve had it from the can, we’ve had it in a diner, and we’ve probably even had fancy variations of chicken noodle soup. I like chicken noodle soup that is chunky, rich, and with thick noodles, so that is what this is.
You can buy egg noodles, which are wonderful…but if you want really thick yummy noodles that soak up all the delicious flavor of the stock. Make them yourself.
Stop right there; don’t get scared, you can do it! You don’t even need anything special to do it! As a person who has a very tiny kitchen, I can even attest to the fact that you don’t even need a lot of counter top space to do this. Make the soup, get it cooking, and then make the noodles. Start to finish this can be made in about an hour and a half (including cooking time).
I should warn you, this makes a lot.
Chicken Soup Ingredients:
2 Tbs olive oil
2 medium onions (or really ideally one medium and one small)
4 stalks of celery
½ tsp ground thyme or 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
½ tsp fresh ground pepper or more to taste
½ tsp salt or more to taste
2 ½ cups cooked chicken, shredded (about 3 large breasts)
2 (32 oz) boxes of chicken stock (or homemade if you have it!)
1 cup water
1 batch homemade egg noodles (recipe follows)
1 Tbs Better Than Bouillon chicken (optional)
Begin by shredding the chicken, and dicing the onion.
Heat the olive oil in a large 6 qt dutch oven, or equally large stock pot. Add the onions and sweat them until transparent and fragrant. Add the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes allowing the onion flavors to be absorbed into the chicken. Add spices and cook for an additional minute. Add stock and water; bring to a slow boil. While this cooks, prepare the vegetables and the noodles. Cut the celery and the carrots into whatever shape you desire.
As I said before, I prefer a chunky soup, so I roughly chop the celery, and I peel and cut the carrots into medium rounds.
Let the base of the soup (chicken, onions, spices, and stock) cook for about 20 minutes. At this point taste your broth and see if you need any additional spicing, and add the Tbs of Better Than Bouillon if desired (see note). Add the vegetables and cook for an additional 10 minutes. The noodles will take about 15 minutes to cook, give or take depending on the thickness.
Egg noodle ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
3 egg yolks
2 tsp salt
¼ to ½ cup water, as needed
Egg noodle method:
Pour flour and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. Make a small well in the middle. Add the eggs into the well.
Using your hands mix to combine. The dough will need between ¼ and ½ cup of water to come together. Before kneading it should be a shaggy but pliable dough. It will look something like this:
Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. The dough will still feel slightly grainy at resting period. Let the dough rest for an additional 15 minutes. At this point the dough will feel smooth to the touch, and will have a nice amount of give when you poke it with your finger.
Lightly dust a large surface are (or a small one if you are me, and then you will want to cut the dough in half and do this in two batches) Dust the top of the dough before rolling as well, lots of flour is the key to pasta forming. Roll out the dough as thin as possible. Ideally it should be ¼ to 1/8 inch thick (but these are rustic homemade noodles, don’t stress about being exact!)
Using a pizza slicer, or a knife, and cut the dough into ¼ inch wide strips.
Then using the pizza slicer cut off the edges to make a rough rectangular shape, like shown. Cut the noodles again until they are approximately ½ inch in length (or about there).
I usually have some scraps leftover, but this recipe makes plenty of noodles. If you desire, re-roll the scraps and repeat the process.
Toss the completed noodles into the pot and cook for about 15 minutes. Taste the noodles for doneness as the cooking time depends on the thickness of your noodles. In general, egg noodles will float to the top when they are finished cooking….but with all the other goodness in the soup, sometimes this isn’t always the case. So taste and check- plus, who minds taste testing?
A few notes:
* Snowpocalypse. For those of you who are reading this on 2/2/11 and you live in the Midwest (where most of our family and friends are from) you are probably dealing with the “blizzard of the century”. If you are in the Denver area, the wind chill is about 10 below 0. If you are in Portland…it’s probably raining.
– Better Than Boullion is one of the most fantastic inventions ever. I’m already cheating a little by not making homemade stock- so forgive me if I cheat a bit more. I think a Tbs of this adds an additional wonderful depth of chicken-ey (yes that’s a word) flavor. Feel free to exclude it, or just try a little at first, but it really is nice. It is also wildly convenient for those times when you realize you don’t have any broth and you can add this to water and make some. I have it in my fridge at all times.
– This makes a large amount, but I also serve soups as a meal so we eat a pretty hearty portion. This will serve about 5 with no leftovers. However, chicken noodle soup gets better with age. The next day your soup will have absorbed most of the liquids, this happens, it’s a good thing. Put the soup back in a pot and add about ½ cup of water (or enough to make it soupy again) and heat on the stove over medium heat until it is thoroughly warmed.
– You can make this with fresh chicken. I usually buy a large package of chicken tenders (about 3 lbs.) I then cube them roughly, salt and pepper them, and add them to the pot just after the onions. I cook them until each piece is completely white on the outside and then add the broth, the chicken will continue to cook through during the rest of the cooking process.
– We used leftover grilled bone in chicken breasts for this. I had honestly never thought of using this for this purpose, but it was excellent. While the grill flavor did not come through in excess, it was there in the background and added a welcome amount of smokiness. Leftover chicken is versatile people- don’t waste it!
– People tell me you can find homemade style egg noodles in the freezer section of the grocery store…I have never been able to find them. They are easy, just make them, they are tastier and more impressive anyway.