**Psst! I forgot a couple of things on my Christmas post – see the updated version here!**
Confession: I have yet to master the art of roasting a whole chicken. I feel pretty lame about it, since it’s one of my favorite meals! The last time I attempted it my chicken was undercooked, and kind of pink and slimy inside. Really gross and really sad. It’s hard to rescue dinner at that point, and I’ve been gun-shy ever since.
But you guys. I can boil the heck out of a chicken, and that’s what this recipe is all about. It’s also about having some cooked, shredded chicken in your freezer – which is a great starting point for so many meals!
You chop up a whole chicken, put its parts and pieces in a big pot with water and veggies and herbs, and cook it until it falls right off the bone and leaves you with delicious chicken stock and the makings of the most homey, comforting, and satisfying chicken noodle soup.
Bring your pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook, covered, for 1-1.5 hours. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken pieces from the broth and set them aside to cool for a while.
Set a mesh strainer over a large bowl or measuring cup and carefully pour the stock through the strainer, reserving both the broth and the vegetables. I put the measuring cup in the sink in case of spills. You should have about 5 cups of beautiful chicken stock!
Next, shred up the chicken. In my experience, this is SO much easier than picking a roasted (or in my case, Costco rotisserie) chicken – the meat comes off the bone so easily and it’s easy to get rid of the skin and…whatever you call the other bits you don’t wanna eat. My chicken yielded about 5 cups of meat, and I used half of it in the soup and put the other half in a freezer bag for future soup (or casseroles, or quick quesadillas, etc).
I poured half of the stock back into the pot and put the other half into another freezer bag. There’s just something special about real homemade chicken stock and its gelatinous, mineral-ly, flavorful goodness (check out this article about the health benefits of bone broth!) and so I like to have some of the good stuff when I make soup. Then I added 2 cups of water and a tablespoon of Better than Bouillon chicken base and brought it back to a boil to cook the noodles.
I don’t usually measure the egg noodles, but I did for you. I used 1.5 cups (solely because that was what was left in the bag, but it was a good amount for the finished soup! If you like a lot of noodles or need to stretch the soup to feed more people, feel free to add more). My noodles needed to cook for a total of 7-8 minutes, so I set a timer for 6 minutes and made a quick roux (fat, flour, milk, and a little more broth) to add a hint of creaminess to the soup. When the timer for the noodles went off, the roux was ready to stir in! The roux is totally optional, but we love this hybrid brothy/creamy version.
Add back the veggies and chicken, and let it simmer for a minute or two – and you have a pot of hearty, savory, not-too-creamy soup, with onions and celery that are meltingly tender, sweet carrot circles, and plenty of the chicken and noodles that make it a real meal.
I hope you enjoy slurping a bowl of this chicken noodle soup as much as we do! And pat yourself on the back for making your life easier on another night by stashing that chicken and stock in the freezer!
- 1 whole chicken (4-5 lbs), cut up (or any bone-in chicken pieces you like, if you would rather buy a package of thighs or breasts. I had a 2-pack of Costco chickens so I also threw in the neck and back bones from the other bird.)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4-5 carrots, peeled and sliced or chunked
- 4 stalks celery, sliced or chunked
- 1 Tablespoon dried basil
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 2 additional cups of chicken broth (or 2 cups water + 2 teaspoons Better than Bouillon chicken base – see note below)
- dried egg noodles (1.5 cups or more)
- 2 Tablespoons butter (or 2 Tablespoons of chicken fat skimmed from the broth)
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup chicken broth (or 1/2 cup water + 1/2 teaspoon Better than Bouillon chicken base)
- Place chicken pieces and veggies in a large pot and cover with water (about 6 cups). Add seasoning and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, 1 to 1.5 hours. Remove chicken pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Set a mesh strainer over a large bowl or measuring cup and strain the veggies from the broth, reserving both. If desired, skim the fat from the broth. (I skim enough to use in the roux later on, but leave the rest since it’s just a few tablespoons and I think it adds flavor.) When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the meat and discard the bones and skin.
- Add half of the chicken stock back to the pot, reserving half in a freezer bag for another pot of soup. Add water and chicken base. (If you don’t want to freeze stock, just pour it all back in the pot and omit the additional water and chicken base.) Bring it to a boil and add egg noodles, cooking them a couple minutes less than the package requires (I did 6 minutes). Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan (or reserved chicken fat if using). Whisk in flour and cook for a minute to form a roux. Slowly pour in milk, whisking, then broth, whisking until it bubbles and thickens. Add it to the soup, then add half of the shredded chicken and all of the reserved vegetables (first sort through them to make sure there are no bits of bone, etc).
- Let the soup heat together for a couple of minutes, taste and add salt and pepper if needed, and serve!
If you prepare the soup as stated above, you will have the meat from half a chicken and about 2.5 cups of stock to save and freeze for a future meal. Alternatively, you could use all of the stock in the soup and just save the chicken for a casserole, etc!
Adapted from Homestyle Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup on Tasty Kitchen