The Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup

The Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup is a timeless classic, a dish that evokes feelings of comfort and nostalgia. It’s a recipe that has stood the test of time, beloved by many for its soothing properties and its ability to bring warmth and comfort on a chilly day or provide relief during a cold.

This particular recipe elevates the traditional chicken noodle soup with a rich depth of flavor and hearty ingredients, making it not just a soup but a complete, nourishing meal. Whether you’re an experienced cook or new to the kitchen, this soup is straightforward to make and always satisfying to enjoy.

Choosing Ingredients and Preparation Tips:

  1. Chicken: Opt for bone-in chicken thighs for this recipe, as they lend a richer flavor to the soup. The bones add depth to the broth, and the dark meat remains tender and juicy during cooking.
  2. Noodles: Kluski noodles are recommended for their dense, chewy texture, but feel free to use any egg noodles you prefer. If you’re looking for a healthier option, whole wheat noodles can be a great substitute.
  3. Vegetables: Fresh carrots, celery, and onions form the classic mirepoix base, essential for a flavorful soup. Ensure they’re fresh for the best taste and nutritional value.
  4. Broth: Using high-quality chicken broth is key. For a homemade touch, consider making your own chicken broth, though store-bought works well for convenience.
  5. Herbs and Spices: Fresh thyme brings a lovely, aromatic quality to the soup. If you don’t have fresh thyme, dried thyme can be used. The addition of lemon juice at the end of cooking adds a refreshing brightness.

Cooking the Soup:

  • Browning the Chicken: Searing the chicken first enhances the flavor. Make sure to pat the chicken dry before seasoning and browning for the best results.
  • Simmering: Allow the soup to simmer gently to develop flavors and ensure the chicken cooks evenly.
  • Adding Noodles: Cook the noodles directly in the soup to absorb the flavors of the broth, but be mindful of their cooking time to avoid overcooking.

Variations and Substitutions:

  • Protein Variations: If chicken thighs are not available, other cuts of chicken, like breasts or legs, can be used. For a vegetarian version, omit the chicken and use vegetable broth.
  • Additional Vegetables: Feel free to add other vegetables like mushrooms, peas, or spinach for added nutrition and variety.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free noodles if you’re catering to a gluten-free diet.
  • Herb Variations: Rosemary or bay leaves can be used in place of or alongside thyme for a different herb flavor.

The Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup is more than just a recipe; it’s a dish that brings people together and offers comfort in every spoonful. It’s perfect for a cozy family dinner, a comforting meal when feeling under the weather, or a heartwarming dish to share with friends. With each ingredient playing a crucial role in creating a harmonious blend of flavors, this soup is sure to become a cherished recipe in your collection.

The Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

Ingredients Required:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 c uncooked kluski noodles or other egg noodles (approximately 8 ounces)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 medium-sized carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 tsp freshly minced thyme or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Optional: Additional salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2-1/2 lbs bone-in chicken thighs
  • 10 c chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Begin by patting the chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Season them with salt and black pepper. Heat the canola oil in a 6-quart stockpot over medium-high heat. In batches, cook the chicken, skin-side down, until it attains a dark golden brown color, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the chicken and set it aside. Remove and discard the chicken skin, saving 2 tablespoons of the drippings in the pot.
  2. In the same pot, sauté the chopped onion in the reserved drippings until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. Pour in the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Return the chicken to the pot. Add the chopped celery, carrots, bay leaves, and thyme. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Let the soup simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a separate plate. Allow the soup to continue simmering. Add the egg noodles to the soup, cover, and let them cook until tender, about 20-22 minutes.
  5. While the noodles are cooking, shred the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces after removing it from the bones; discard the bones.
  6. Return the shredded chicken meat to the stockpot. Stir in the freshly chopped parsley and lemon juice. Adjust the seasoning by adding more salt and pepper if needed. Discard the bay leaves before serving.

This Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup offers not just comfort but also a rich tapestry of flavors, perfectly balanced to create a heartwarming dish. The soup brings together tender chicken, nourishing vegetables, and hearty noodles in a flavorful broth, making it ideal for any day when you need a little extra warmth and comfort. Remember to adjust the seasoning according to your preferences, and enjoy this classic, soothing soup.

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