On a cold day, you just have to have chicken noodle soup. There are a few things I don’t like about canned / store bought chicken noodle soup:

  1. Too salty (used as a preservative)
  2. Noodles get soggy
  3. Noodles don’t fit on a spoon – inefficient
  4. Chicken is cubed and doesn’t even look like chicken

So my solution is to make chicken noodle soup from scratch. It is well worth it.

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First thing is first, get the stock started. Buy a whole cut-up chicken (or a whole chicken and cut it up yourself). I usually omit the neck, since I can be squeamish. Don’t forget to season the chicken with salt and pepper.

1 whole cut up chicken
1 tablespoon salt & pepper
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In your stock pot begin to brown the chicken pieces. Start with the breasts and then after 3 minutes add the rest of the pieces. It takes about 5 minutes. The goal is to brown the chicken, not cook it all the way through. Depending on the size of your pan you may need to do it in two batches.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
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While the chicken is browning, get the vegetables ready to go. Slice all the vegetables and set aside.
1 carrot
4 sprigs celery (+ leaves)
1 white onion
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Next get the herbs ready. Use whatever is handy, but I like this combination.
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig sage
1 sprig thyme
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To save some time later, put the herbs in cheesecloth or tie up using some kitchen twine.
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Now everything is ready to go. Remove the chicken onto a plate, to get the vegetables started. Sauté the onions in the stock pot until soft, then add the celery and carrots. Sauté for an additional minute.

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Next add the cold water, peppercorns, bay leaves, herbs, and chicken. Set to medium heat and bring to a boil.

small handful peppercorns
10-12 cups cold water
2 bay leaves
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Once the soup reaches a boil, turn to low and let simmer for at least 2 hours (the longer the better!). Skim the fat off the top as you go.
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When you can’t stand the wonderful aroma for a moment longer, it’s time to finish the soup off. Remove the chicken pieces onto a plate.
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Using two forks (one in each hand), shred the chicken breast meet on a separate plate. Save the meat of the other pieces for another recipe. Add the shredded chicken breast back to the stock.
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Remove the bay leaves and bunch of herbs. Cook the noodles according to box directions. I like to use bow tie pasta because they fit just perfectly on a spoon.
1 box bow tie pasta
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Keep the pasta separate and only add it to individual bowls before adding the broth. This prevents the noodles from getting soggy. Salt the broth to taste, this is a very important step!

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Add equal parts of broth mixture to pasta in each bowl.

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