The Ultimate Comfort Food: Mom’s Chicken Noodle Soup
And not just any mom’s Chicken Noodle Soup, my mom’s Chicken Noodle Soup. I learned this week, in fact, that this recipe comes from my great grandmother, the original Nana in our family. It has been lovingly passed from one generation to the next and for very good reason: it’s the best. In my humble, correct opinion…
It’s simple, classic, yet with a delightful twist that makes it special. Am I overselling this? Maybe. But when the weather takes a turn towards nasty or when someone in my family gets sick, I feel an irresistible urge to make this soup.
Earlier this week, hours after my husband and I had tucked our angels in bed, I heard the unmistakable sound of a baby seal barking at the back of our house. The following day, a trip to our doctor confirmed what I had suspected: croup. Thankfully it was a mild case and the only real treatment to be had was some good ol’ fashioned TLC.
I was ready and had already started prepping the chicken stock. I should note that this recipe is not only delicious but the original version can be made in 30 minutes or less. This particular day though I was craving something with a bit more heft so I opted for a modified version in which I made homemade chicken stock.
I’ve been reading more and more lately about the health benefits of a good bone broth which means I have a freezer full of chicken carcasses just waiting to impart their healing powers. My understanding is that you can use the bones over and over until they disintegrate into the broth. I’m not sure exactly how long this will take, my guess is probably longer than it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.
To make the broth take 4-6 quarts of water, add the chicken which can include scraps from prior meals and/or fresh meat with skin on and bone-in as well as the extra bits (like gizzards), toss in one onion cut into chunks, 1 cup of carrots sliced or whole, and 3 stalks of celery.
Bring the water to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and let cook all day (10-12+ hours). I judge the doneness by the color of the broth and I’m looking for that nice golden hue you find in the store bought versions.
Once your stock is prepared, remove the chicken and veggies and place in a freezer-proof container for next time. If you’ve added fresh meat, take that out first then remove the meat from the bone and slice into chunks. You can also set aside some of the meat for a future recipe if you’ve got more than you need for your soup. Be sure to strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer before you’re done to ensure you remove the little bits of chicken and bone.
One of the benefits of making homemade broth is that you can go through this process at any time. Just pick a day when you’ll be around the house to monitor things, get out your big stock pot and your ingredients and take pleasure in “cooking” all day while also having the leisure to do pretty much anything but cook.
Below is my version of the recipe using the already prepared chicken stock and cooked chicken. If you opt for the original recipe, begin by boiling your chicken in water till cooked through. Remove the chicken, cut it into chunks, and return to the water which will now serve as your soup base. Pick up with the first step of the recipe below. This makes for a light almost refreshing soup.
While I hope you and yours stay well, I offer up the following recipe just in case.
The Home Grown Mom’s Mom’s Mom’s Mom’s Chicken Noodle Soup
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
2 cups water
½ tsp salt
1 cup carrots, diced or sliced
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup celery, diced or sliced
1 tsp whole allspice
1 small onion, diced
8 ounces Kluski noodles
Dice/slice the carrots, onions, and celery or toss them all in your food processor and give it a whirl.
Place prepped veggies in pot or pan with just a drizzle of oil or pat of butter and lightly sauté (this keeps the veggies from getting too soft once cooked in the soup).
Add to veggies your chicken stock, water, and the prepared chicken as well as the spices and let simmer until the veggies are slightly tender. (If using the quick method, do not add extra water.)
Add in Kluski noodles and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the noodles reach your desired doneness. Serve and enjoy. NOTE: For an easier time with the whole allspice, place the kernels into a tea ball and drop that into the soup while it cooks. If you don’t have any whole allspice you can substitute ½-1 tsp of ground allspice and make a note to purchase the whole next time you’re picking up groceries. Also, be sure to remove the whole allspice prior to serving.
Why, yes, those are Ramen Noodles, not Kluski, in my soup – good eye! I’ve mentioned before that this blog comes out of my real life experiences and the only noodles my real-life-self had in the kitchen today were Ramen Noodles. Not ideal but the soup was so good it didn’t make a lick of difference.