Our wonderful friend Joe came over recently, bearing goodwill and the largest organic chicken I’d ever seen. He roasted it in our oven with an onion, a pile of tiny red potatoes, and not nearly enough carrots. (Few things on this green earth are as delectable as slowly roasted carrots.)
After this fabulous meal he departed, taking some of the chicken with him but leaving us with most of it, along with the carcass, which we immediately turned into stock.
I make a lot of soup, but hadn’t made a classic chicken noodle version for years. With fantastic ingredients like golden, aromatic stock and tender chicken, I wanted to keep it simple: celery, carrots, onion, egg noodles, and that gorgeous stock and chicken.
Taste your stock first to see if it needs anything; mine needed reducing to intensify the flavor. Adding just a touch of lemon juice heightened the roasted chicken flavor without dominating; the parsley provides a fresh green note.
I’m not one for a bowl of stock with a few noodles and an occasional bit of chicken, as you can tell from the photo. If you like more stock, add more than the recipe calls for.
Long, slow simmering will result in some darned tasty soup, but add the chicken and noodles just in the last 15 minutes, or they will both be reduced to mush. If I plan to make the soup ahead of time, or to freeze it, I leave the noodles out until I’m warming it back up again. (I also added a handful of frozen baby peas at the last minute, just because I could.)
I served big bowls of the soup for dinner, with a warm loaf of No-Knead Cheddar Bread. Just the thing for a chilly evening.
Classic Chicken-Noodle Soup
Makes 4-6 hearty servings
1 tbs. olive oil (or butter or chicken fat)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped or sliced
2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried thyme (or 2 tbs. fresh minced thyme)
salt and pepper
6-8 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
juice of ½ lemon
2 cups cooked chicken cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups uncooked egg noodles
1/3 cup chopped parsley
Warm the oil (or butter or fat) in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes, until they’re translucent. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, and thyme; season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring now and then, for around 8 minutes, until the veg are becoming tender and aromatic. Add the stock and the lemon juice. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. (Or simmer on very low heat for as long as a few hours.) Taste and adjust the seasoning; if it’s a bit flat, add a few drops more lemon juice as well as some salt and pepper.
When you’re less than half an hour away from eating the soup, add the chicken and noodles. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the noodles are just tender. Add the parsley and you’re good to go.