Our most comforting soup. If you can, use an organic chicken, as they tend to be much leaner than the commercial ones. If not, skim off the excess fat from the pot as the chicken simmers. For the broth in Step 1, feel free to jazz it up with lemongrass, ginger, turmeric or additional garlic.
Course Soups & Stews
Essential Ingredient Chicken
Prep Time 2hours
Cook Time 2hours
Total Time 4hours
1wholeorganic chickenabout 4.5 lbs
1teaspoonfine sea saltdivided
112 oz bagdried egg noodles
Step 1: Place the raw chicken, breast side down, in a large stock pot. Add in the bay leaf, peppercorn and garlic. Roughly chop 3 of the carrots and 3 of the celery ribs and add them to the pot, along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 stems of each thyme and parsley.
Cover everything with cool water, partially cover and bring the pot to a simmer over high heat. Simmer the chicken, partially covered, for 45 minutes over med-low heat. Using a sturdy pair of tongs, flip the chicken to breast side up. Simmer for another 45 minutes.
Turn off the pot and let the chicken cool in the broth. When lukewarm, scoop out the chicken and shred the meat of the bones. Strain the broth into jars and discard the carcass (or use for another boiling of stock - See Note.) You will have approximately 5 cups cooked chicken and 2.5 quarts chicken stock. Store the shredded chicken and the stock in airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to make your soup, up to three days.
Step 2: Dice the remaining carrots and celery, along with the fennel. Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the diced onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then add the diced carrot, celery and fennel. Season with the remaining salt and cook for 5 minutes.
Pour in the reserved chicken stock and bring the soup to a simmer. Meanwhile, finely chop the leaves from the thyme and parsley and add them to the pot. Simmer the soup for about 10 minutes, tasting occasionally to gauge how the vegetables are cooking.
When the vegetables are tender (but before they are mushy) tip all of the cooked chicken into the pot. If you are freezing the soup, turn it off now and cool completely. To serve, bring the soup up to a simmer again and hold over low heat while you cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the egg noodles according to the package directions. Drain well, then distribute into bowls. Ladle the hot soup over the top and serve at once. Season as desired with additional salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
After I shred the meat off, I always boil my chicken bones a second time. I barely cover them with water, add aromatics if I have any around, and simmer the stock for 4-5 hours. Surprisingly it yields another batch of stock, slightly less fragrant, but still lovely all the same. I keep it on hand for risotto and other soups.