I should have known better than to Google my symptoms while I was laying sick in bed. My search results included everything from run-of-the-mill flu (most likely) to horrifying gastrointestinal parasites (less likely) to the plague (I sure hope not). Whatever caused it, my nausea had the added bonus result of convincing my entire office I was pregnant – which, by the way, also came up in my search results, but as far as I know is about as likely as the plague.
My mystery illness has thankfully passed, but this past weekend I was in desperate need of some serious comfort food and general nourishment. There comes a point when dry toast and tepid water cease to satisfy even the most queasy stomach, so I endeavoured to make a nice chicken soup from scratch.
This is just how I like my chicken soup: hearty, savoury broth made from scratch and flavoured with carrots, onion and ginger, and loads of egg noodles and shredded chicken in the final product. If you’d like your version to be less noodle-heavy, just use only half the package, or else add more stock to your pot.
Homemade stock is not essential, but is strongly recommended. I like to make my own stock because then I can control its flavour, quality and salt content. Whenever I cook a chicken, or even when I buy one of those supermarket rotisserie chickens, I always throw the bones in a pot with some vegetables and herbs. I keep extra stock portioned out in my refrigerator or freezer for use in soups, risotto, stuffing, and any other recipes that call for broth. It’s also nice just on its own, in a mug with the pinch of sea salt, as an afternoon snack.
This soup produced the desired effect of any good chicken soup: it made a sick person feel better. Cliche? Absolutely. Doesn’t matter. I’m not going to fight it.
- 1 whole chicken
- ½ onion, cut into 2" chunks
- 3 carrots, cut into 2" chunks (don't bother peeling)
- 3 stalks celery, cut into 2" chunks
- 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 cups water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 8-9 cups chicken stock (or however much you're left with from the preceding recipe)
- 1-2 teaspoons salt (or more to taste)
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 package dried egg noodles
- 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- In a large stock pot, combine all stock ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and keep at a steady simmer. Simmer, covered, for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours. The flavours get stronger the longer it cooks; this time, I simmered mine for 4 hours and it worked well.
- Turn off heat and let mixture cool slightly, then strain into a large heat-proof container. Reserve cooked chicken for addition to the soup; discard all remaining solids.
- In a large stock pot (I usually wash the pot I just made the stock in), heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and celery; cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5-8 minutes more.
- Add chicken stock and bring mixture to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and the lemon juice; taste and see if you'd like to add more salt (remember that the broth itself as above is unsalted. If you use store-bought stock, you may not need to add salt at all. Just taste it!). Add egg noodles and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Once egg noodles are cooked, stir in shredded chicken and chopped parsley and serve immediately.
- Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days.