How to make chicken noodle soup

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 11:08 AM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It is soup season and one of the most popular kinds is chicken noodle soup.

Karen McHugh is a home cook from Savannah who likes to make healthy, affordable dishes and chicken noodle soup. She is joining us in the kitchen today to show us her recipe.

Chicken Stock and Chicken Soup- submitted by Karen McHugh:


Large pot, sharp knife, cutting board, cheesecloth (about $5.50 for several yards of it) or very fine strainer, kitchen string, ladle or measuring cup, plastic or glass storage containers with lids for freezing stock

FOOD for stock and soup itself:

Whole, young chicken (not roasting), whole wheat or regular egg noodles, carrots, onions, herbs (savory herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme, OR spicy herbs like cumin, cilantro, red pepper flakes), other random veggies already in your frig like green peppers, celery, peas, AND water, salt/pepper

STEP ONE: Poaching the chicken- you can do this the night before as it will take about 1.5 hours to cook the chicken in the stock (water and veggies and herbs)

1) Chop the random veggies and an onion into several large pieces since you won’t be eating them. KEEP a few carrots aside for the final soup.

2) Rinse the chicken well , remove and put any gizzards aside or use them after you take them out of the wrapping BUT remove the liver, don’t use liver for the soup!, then put a Tablespoon or more of the combined herbs inside the cavity, and wrap string around the chicken to hold it together during the cooking (poaching) time

3) Put the chicken and the veggies in a big pot and cover with water. Add tablespoon of salt and a little pepper. Also add more herbs, teaspoon or more of each. Cover and bring to a boil on the stovetop, then turn the heat WAY down so all you get is tiny bubbles (simmer). Cook it for 1.5 hours, partially covered. This is called poaching and it makes the chicken very tender, not stringy and also cooks the veggies and herbs for what will be your stock.

4) Poke the chicken with a fork and if the juices are pink, keep the chicken poaching for a few minutes longer. Fully cooked chicken will have whitish juices, not pink!

5) Once your chicken is done cooking, remove it and put it in a large bowl or plate to cool down. Keep the fluid and veggies in the pot!

6) Put the chicken aside until ready to shred and make soup. NOTE: do NOT leave the chicken in the pot to cool down to prevent absorption of water into the chicken.

7) Shred the chicken into eatable pieces, refrigerate and KEEP the carcass but not the skin for making more stock if you like- also refrigerate or freeze whole carcass for a later time.

8) Once cool enough to handle, strain the liquid from the pot which is now called Stock: You can strain the stock using a strainer (or use cheesecloth) into a large bowl , straining the stock ladle by ladle if you like. Remove anything collected in the strainer or on top of the cheesecloth.

9) Put bowl of stock into the frig for the soup OR measure stock by 1-4 cup amounts, put in re-usable plastic covered containers and freeze till needed. Label as Chicken Stock with the date you made it and the amount in the container.

STEP TWO: Making the Soup Using the shredded chicken, noodles and the fresh carrots and onions:

1) Plan to heat up only enough stock for the amount of soup you want, say 1.5 cups per person or so.

2) Heat the stock till it starts to boil, add your fresh carrot pieces, some salt and pepper and cook carrots for about 5 minutes till they are still firm but partially cooked, then add a few handfuls of egg noodles for another 6 minutes or so, then add your cut up, shredded chicken pieces and warm those up. Don’t add more carrots or noodles than you will eat as they become mushy if left overnight in the stock.


Now, Part Two, Turning the carcass into another chicken stock:

1) Take the carcass and gizzards (NO livers!) from the already cooked chicken, add the same kind of veggies and herbs to it like we did above and cook in water on gentle heat for about 1.5 hours.

2) Remove the carcass and gizzards and throw them away. Strain the stock like above and freeze- once frozen, the stock is useful for a month or so. Label the container with the amount of stock and the date you made it.

Now Tip of the Day: if you don’t have a lot of spices in your kitchen and want to try some without spending a lot of money, try the international food section of the Supermarket and in with the Spanish based food products you might find spices in small resealable packets for about a $1.00. You can also find some spices in places like a Job Lot, the Dollar stores kind of stores for pretty cheap. Just always check expiration date on any spice you buy and make sure it isn’t due to expire in the next couple of months which means it won’t be as flavorful as it is with a better expiration date.

Basic cost So, the basic cost of this meal along with the basic, nutritional information:

What you spent:

Chicken- $1.49-1.79 a pound so about $9-10 per 6 lb chicken

Carrots- about $1.00 a pound

Spices- around 25 cents

Whole wheat or white flour egg noodles- $3.00 a full package

Onions and other veggies for stock- less than 50 cents

Water/stock- Zero

Total price for ingredients for total ingredients: under $13-14.00!

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A and Vitamin C (carrots) and protein (chicken) and fiber (whole wheat egg noodles), no preservatives, no excess salt or fat or artificial flavorings

Environmental benefits: less use of packaging materials (only a little plastic to toss from chicken and carrot bags)