Saturday, January 21, 2012

Comfort in a Bowl, Mug or Thermos

Pure comfort is assured, whether you are curling up in front of the fire on a cold, wet, blustery day or spooning it up from a thermos at school or during a football game, or working on enough appetite to get some down while getting over a cold or the flu. Such is the power of chicken noodle soup. Our mothers and grandmothers knew it and the soup manufacturers know it. So do we.

What some don't know is that good chicken noodle soup is fairly quick and easy to make from scratch and then you also know whats in it. Onions and carrots (for this recipe) and sometimes celery and garlic are softened and partially caramelized in some olive oil. Add some broth and diced up chicken breast meat, or chicken thigh if you prefer. Let it simmer while you add freshly ground black pepper, dried thyme and some lemon juice for spark.

Cook some noodles in another pot in chicken broth (to keep a good solid chicken flavor...not water here...and to prevent the noodles from overcooking), then add them and more broth, followed by some frozen peas for color and another flavor burst. That's it. If you have your own homemade chicken stock you are golden, but a good quality canned broth is fine, too. You can skip the peas and it will still be good, but try to add the lemon juice. Think of the blast of Vitamin C in that juice.

If you like you can do what I did and use a head of roasted garlic instead of fresh garlic. I slid each roasted clove out of its skin, then finely diced them all and added them before I added the chicken pieces. The depth of flavor is wonderful this way. I hope that you'll try this before the weather gets warm. We had it yesterday with our friends while the rain came down outside. Just the right kind of weather for chicken noodle soup.

Freshly Made Chicken Noodle Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped or 1 head roasted garlic, cloves peeled and finely chopped
2 cups diced raw or cooked chicken, either breasts, thighs, or a combination
about 42 oz. chicken broth, divided
1/2 lb dry flat noodles (I used the no yolk kind)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
juice of 1 medium lemon, seeds removed
if desired, additional salt to taste
1 cup frozen peas

In a large pot saute' the onions and carrots in the olive oil for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat, cover, and let 'sweat' for 7-8 minutes until soft and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Add the garlic or roasted garlic, stir and simmer, covered for 2 minutes.

Add the chicken and 1 cup of the broth, stir, cover and simmer 5 minutes.

While the chicken is simmering in the broth, heat 14 oz. chicken broth in a medium pot until boiling. Add the flat noodles, stir, cover, reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes, until partially cooked.

Add the contents of the noodle pot, the rest of the broth, the pepper, thyme, lemon (salt if using), and peas to the broth and chicken. Stir, cover, and cook over low heat to heat the peas through, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Serve and enjoy. Tastes even better the next day.


  1. I probably use my slow cooker to make chicken broth more than anything else. From scratch chicken broth can not be beat ... unless you use it to make chicken noodle soup like yours! Lovely Pat.

  2. Wish I hadn't given my slow cooker away...I could make chicken broth that way and then lots of soup. I love soup.