One of the first recipes I posted when I started this blog was good old chicken soup. Considering that no one was actually reading my blog back then, I've decided to post it again. It is perfect for this time of year as the temperatures change 20 or 30 degrees from day to day and many of us end up with colds and allergies. I believe in the healing powers of homemade chicken soup!
The first thing to know about cooking with chicken is to be very careful with sanitation. Rinse the chicken in cold water before cooking it. Wash your hands and all surfaces that come in contact with raw chicken with hot, soapy water and/or a product made for kitchen clean-up.
For this soup you can use whatever form of chicken you want. You can buy a whole chicken and cut it into pieces (I don’t think it is worth the effort), frozen bags of boneless breasts, or assorted fresh chicken pieces from the meat case. I like to use a whole chicken already cut in pieces. The skin gives the broth more flavor than the boneless, skinless bagged pieces. I generally cook the gizzard, liver, heart and back in a small pan of water and give it to my dog. Some people actually eat those parts. We don’t.
Chicken Noodle Soup
1 whole chicken, cut in pieces. Do not use liver, gizzard, or heart for soup.
1 cup chopped carrots (baby carrots or whole carrots peeled)
1 cup chopped celery
2 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 bay leaves
15 cups water (I have a big pot)
7 oz. dry egg noodles (I try to buy the most homemade looking I can find)
Rinse the chicken and place in large pot. If you are cooking for one or two people, and don’t have a large pot, just use one or two pieces of chicken and cover it with water. You will need to cut down the other ingredients as well, including the salt. You really can’t mess this up. Cover the chicken with the 15 cups of water, add the carrots, celery, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and let cook for about 2 hours until the chicken is very tender. Remove the chicken from the pot to cool. Remove the bay leaves.
At this point in the process, I remove 5 cups of the broth and put it in a freezer container. Let it cool, and freeze it. You will be very glad to have it on a different night. Bring the remaining broth back to a boil, and stir in the noodles. Reduce to simmer and cover. The package should give you the amount of time for your particular noodles to cook (mine took 20 minutes). While the noodles are cooking, remove the chicken from the bones and skin. Cut or shred into bite size pieces. Measure 2 cups of chicken and add to the cooked noodles and broth. Add salt and pepper as needed. The remaining chicken can be placed in freezer bags and frozen, or you may refrigerate it for sandwiches the next day.
At a later date you can thaw the frozen broth, add the frozen chicken and simply place in a pan and bring to a simmer. Add a handful of rice, pasta or noodles and you have a second meal.
*Mom hint-Bay leaves are not poisonous but they do have sharp edges and can be a choking hazard. Make sure you always remove them before serving the food.