If you have been following my tweets, you know I have come down with a cold. Being sick is one of the least favorite things I can imagine. I read stories from other bloggers and celebrity chefs about the warm and fuzzy memories they have of staying home from school while their Moms made all their favorite dishes or family remedies to soothe their achy bodies. Well, my Mom worked…..alot, so if I stayed home from school, it was normally me, the TV and a can of Campbell’s soup. I didn’t lounge in bed all day cause at 3:00pm I had to start watching my siblings until my Step-Dad got home, regardless of whether I was ill or not. So fresh-baked cookies, bowls of hot soup and mugs of tea are not part of my idealized childhood.
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What I do remember is telling myself that when I got older, I would NEVER serve my kids Campbell’s soup. To this day, I hate that stuff. The tomato soup makes me gag. The chicken noodle is wimpy. The cream of mushroom should be considered a weapon of mass destruction. So when I moved out and started living on my own, I slaved away making soup from scratch. From stock to the noodles to roasting my own chickens, I made the BEST chicken soup. Problem being that it took 8 hours to make and I lived in a studio apartment the size of Lindsay Lohan’s jail cell. So I found shortcuts so I could make chicken soup in a hurry without too much of the fuzz.
Be forewarned that this recipe is not as easy as opening up a can. And while this chicken soup is delicious, it doesn’t quite take the place of the soup I made from scratch, but it hits the spot when your throat is sore and you think you just might die if you cough/sneeze/blow your nose one more time.
Chicken Noodle Soup (in a Hurry)
1 rotisserie chicken (3-5 lbs)
2 lbs of chicken parts/bones (neck, feet, head, wings) (1) – optional
1 bay leaf
2 cloves of minced garlic
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 quarts chicken stock
1 cup medium-diced celery (2-3 stalks)
1 cup medium-diced carrots (3 carrots or 15-20 baby carrots)
1/4 cup scallions
2 cups wide egg noodles OR 1 cup orzo
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 tablespoons whole pepper corns
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once water is at a rapid boil, add in your egg noodles or orzo. Cook according to instructions on package (approx. 5-7 minutes) until al dente. Once cooked, drain pasta and run under cool water. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and spread onto a sheet pan to prevent sticking. Set to side.(2)
Place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a large stockpot or dutch oven and heat over a medium flame. Add chicken parts and cook until pieces have lightly browned about 5 minutes. Once the pieces have browned, add the chicken stock, peppercorns, garlic and bay leaf. Set over medium low heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes covered.
Add in celery, carrots and scallions and cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft but not mushy.
Shred rotisserie chicken and equally mix dark and white meat. (3)
Remove chicken bones/parts and discard. Add in shredded chicken, cilantro and parsley and cook until meat is heated through, about 3-5 minutes.
Add desired amount of pasta to bottom of bowl and ladle hot soup over bowl.
Leftover soup can be stored in the freezer from up to 3 months. To do so, completely cool soup to room temperature, ladle into airtight containers and drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top to form a thin layer. I find that it helps keep the soup fresher in my opinion.
(1) I tend to roast whole chickens fairly often in my house, so I always have a freezer full of chicken bones/parts. You can also go to your local butcher and purchase chicken bones at really low-cost. This step can also be omitted completely but I find the addition of the bones makes for a really deep tasting broth.
(2) I cook the noodles/pasta separate from the soup for two reasons. I find that the noodles get soggy when you cook them with the soup. Second, I tend to cook large batches of soup and leaving the noodles out, allows me to freeze the soup without worry if the noodles will hold up.
(3) Save those bones! While I prefer using chicken parts from uncooked chicken, I find the bones from a roast chicken dropped into your freezer are perfect for recipes like this. However, be sure to only use bones that were not part of your dinner. Picking bones from your family’s plates and reusing them is not sanitary and sorta creepy.