I'm here to tell you that you don't need a whole chicken carcass to make really good chicken noodle soup.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan and proponent of homemade chicken stock. But, the times I need chicken noodle soup the most, are typically also the times that I don't have the patience, energy, or time to deal with a whole chicken. Like when I'm sick.
I make a pot of chicken noodle anytime Evan or I get even the slightest sniffle. It's so quick and easy, and maybe it's just because we're nostalgic for sick days home from school with mom's chicken noodle soup, but it always seems to do the trick. I came down with a nasty cold this week, and all I wanted was a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup. But I wanted it like, instantly… but also semi-homemade.
I use store-bought broth or stock (honestly, Swanson's low sodium is my very favorite, I think it has the best flavor…but use whatever you prefer) and dried noodles. Trader Joe's egg pappardelle pasta is my favorite—when I use that, I'll just boil the noodles directly in the broth, because they make it a little creamy and thick. If I use other noodles, I'll boil them separately. Sometimes I dice up and sauté a chicken breast, sometimes I don't even add chicken. I love the addition of frozen peas and shredded cabbage, but I'll use whatever I have on hand, sometimes just carrots and onions. I always throw in a whole bunch of thyme (fresh or dried), and if I have fresh parsley on hand, I'll add that as well. Go ahead and get creative, or use what you have… it's that easy! And in addition to making me feel warm and cozy, it tastes delicious too!
PS. As you read this, I'm snuggled up on my couch with some cough drops, a glass of hot tea, and a cup of this chicken noodle. Work your magic, soup!
Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1-2 chicken breasts, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
salt & pepper
8 cups chicken stock
1-2 carrots, diced
8 oz package egg noodles
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup shredded cabbage
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, and add a swirl or two of olive oil. Add the onion, and cook until translucent. Add the chicken, and cook through. Add garlic, salt & pepper, and thyme, and cook another minute or two, until garlic is fragrant but not burned. Add chicken broth, and turn up heat to bring soup to a boil. Add carrots and egg noodles, and boil until noodles are done. Lower heat to simmer, and add peas, cabbage, and parsley. Simmer until cabbage is cooked. Add salt & pepper to taste, as needed.