Favorite Chicken Noodle Soup

I know, I know it’s April.  But the gloom outside is a perfect setting for this classic comfort food.  So today we are making Chicken Noodle Soup.  I don’t know if anybody else does it this way. My friends are usually surprised.  But that’s the way we like it.

Ingredients for the Stock
12 cups of water
3-4 cups of chicken broth
4 chicken leg quarters (about 4 pounds) (To rinse or not to rinse.  I rinse my chicken and all meat before cooking, carry washed parts to the pot on a large plate to avoid spreading any droplets and then sanitize the sink, the plate and the whole working area)
1 bag of baby carrots
5 stalks of celery
2 small onions
lots of veggies and herbs – anything you can find in the fridge goes (except sweet pepper because it adds a distinctive smell).  I like freezing any veggies and herbs that we didn’t eat in the first day or two and then when I cook stock I dump it all in a pot with meat. I usually end up with lots of frozen leeks, thyme, parsley.
If you don’t have a frozen veggie-and-herbs bag then some of the things that you might add that will make your stock yummy are: 5 black peppercorns, 1 glove garlic, 10 sprig parsley, 2 sprig thyme, bay leaf.

Additional ingredients
1 box of Elbow macaroni, other pasta or egg noodles
1 Tablespoon of Salt or to taste

Kids are good helpers when it comes to filling the pot

Make the stock
Put water and chicken broth in a large stock pot (mine is 8QT or 7.6L) and set it over high heat.  Once the water boils add chicken and all the veggies and spices.  I don’t cut up the veggies because once my stock is ready I will discard them anyway.  Make sure to use the slotted spoon to remove any of the nasty, foamy stuff that forms on top of your boiling water.  Once the water goes back to boiling and you removed the foam, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until the chicken is no longer red when cut away from the bone.  About 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Don’t forget to skim the surface periodically.  Once chicken is ready remove the chicken from the pot.  Strain the broth through a fine sieve into a large, clean stockpot (or a very large bowl).  Discard the vegetables, unless you have boiled carrots lovers in your family.  Then save a couple of carrots, cut them up and later add directly to their bowls.

Add salt to your stock.  1 Tablespoon seems like a good amount.  We eat no processed foods, so I feel like we can afford to be generous when it comes to salting our soups.

Preparing the chicken
Remove the meat from the bones.  Discard the skin and bones.  Cut meat into small pieces.  Or not.  My kids don’t mind big pieces.  Set aside.

Prepare according to instructions on a box.

We like to stock up on elbow macaroni.  
There is nothing worst than elbow macaroni emergency 
and not having it on hand

Putting it all together
Put cooked pasta, chicken, carrots (optional) in a bowl. Cover with chicken stock.

Not a vegetable in sight!  However, all the vegetables that we boiled
in water earlier released their minerals and vitamins into the stock

Note: There are two reasons why I prefer to keep stock, chicken, and pasta separately.  First, nobody in my family likes how soggy and bloated pasta gets and how smelly the chicken becomes the next day.  Second, everybody in my family has different preferences for what they like in their soup, so I can just add or skip ingredients per their instructions.

Bon Appetit!

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