Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chicken Noodle Soup

Around these here parts (lol), the flu is going around like crazy, and people are dropping like flies.  Literally.  My four older kiddos were all down for the count 2 weeks ago, and my sweet Gabriel only started to feel better last weekend.  Poor little guy!  After making homemade applesauce and letting the kids nosh on graham crackers and sprite for about a week, I decided to make a pot of soup.  I mean...who doesn't want chicken noodle soup when you're getting over the flu, right? 

I firmly believe good chicken soup starts with good stock, and that means cooking the chicken with the skin on and bone-in.  None of that "boneless, skinless chicken" stuff here!  You wanna make some hard core soup?  Stick with me...and we'll make a pot with a lot more flavor if you have the bones...all righty?  Trust me, there's nothing to it...just takes a wee bit more time.  

I used just chicken drumsticks (I had two big family sized packs in the freezer), but you can use a whole, cut up chicken, bone-in thighs, whatever you fancy.  Just please...for the love of heaven get you some chicken with bones in it...they sell cut up chickens right in the poultry case at the grocery store.  I promise...I saw some at my local Kroger just today.  ;-)

Chicken Noodle Soup

2 pounds meaty chicken pieces (bone-in thighs, breasts, legs, or a combination)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 stalks celery, diced
2 cups diced carrots 
2 medium onions, diced
2 teaspoons fresh sage or thyme, chopped 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes (seasoned with basil, thyme, and oregano) 
12 ounces wide egg noodles +
Salt and black pepper to taste

In a large pot, place the chicken and enough water to just cover the meat.  Bring to a boil and let gently simmer for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is tender (juices should run clear if pierced with a knife). 

Remove from the pot, and let cool. 
SAVE THE BROTH!  Shred the meat from the bones, discarding the skin and bones.  Chop coarsely into bite-sized pieces.  Set aside. 

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the celery, carrots, and onions and saute until tender, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.  

Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes or until the garlic is soft and fragrant.  Remove from the heat. 

At this point, the broth will have settled a bit, and you may see some fat at the surface.  Skim it off, along with any visible bits of marrow or skin.  You can leave them in, but it makes for an unattractive broth...and if you kids are like mine, you will hear cries of, "EWW...what's THAT!" at the table.  So if you want a peaceful dinner, I would skim it out.  Just sayin'.  ;-)

 Now, add the cooked vegetables to the broth, along with the chicken and the undrained tomatoes.  Bring back up to a boil and add the egg noodles.  Cook the noodles in the soup according to the package directions (probably about 8 minutes or so).  At the last minute, stir in the fresh sage, dill, and parsley.  

Ladle into bowls and serve immediately with some crusty bread for sopping if desired.  
My kids were grateful for warm bowls of comfort to ease their achy throats and stop the fever shivers.  Even the baby (who was the only one to escape the flu bug) happily slurped down a few noodles.  Yeah! 

I pray everyone at your table is healthy and stays that way!  Enjoy, and God bless your table tonight!  

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