1 whole chicken
3 large carrots
4 stalks of celery
1 medium onion
10-12 cups water
3 Tbsp chicken base
2 bay leaves
1 heaping Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp ground pepper
salt to taste
2/3 bag of Country Pasta or 1 full bag of Rhode’s frozen noodles.
Cooking the chicken: You have some choices here… you can boil the whole chicken (skin on). This provides really great flavor to your soup, but you will have added fat and the possibility of finding a little bone in your soup (kind of grosses me out but it really does make a big difference in flavor). Another choice is to take your chicken and skin it and remove the breasts and legs and boil them (This is the option I choose most of the time. You get the meatiest parts of the chicken and remove almost all of the bone and skin but still get a little of that tender, flavorful dark meat with your breast meat). Of course, you could just use chicken breasts. This is a great option if you are wanting to throw together the soup quickly after work. It will not have as much flavor, but still yummy. Another fun, quick option is to buy one of the rotisserie chickens from the grocery store and pull the meat from it. You get some good flavor from the roasting process and it is really convenient.
Okay, enough about the chicken. Chop veggies about 1/4 inch thick.
*Quick trick. I really dislike cutting onions but I found a super easy trick that eliminates the crying and stinky hands. Cutting in to the root side is what releases all of the gasses that make your eyes burn . Just cut off the top of the onion, leaving the root side still in tact. Run your knife into the very first layer around the stem end then run your knife through that first layer down the whole onion. This will allow you to release the first layer and peel. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/2 inch slits into your onion, being careful not to penetrate all the way through. Cross-cut the onion so you now have little squares. Turn your onion on its side and slice. This will leave you with perfect little diced squares.
Add chicken, chicken base, pepper, bay leaves and veggies to water and heat over high heat until boiling then reduce heat to medium so it is still lightly boiling. Boil for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the chicken is tender enough to shred. You will want to let it cool for a few minutes before digging in. Pull all of the meat off of the bone and roughly chop. Return back to broth. (Be certain to check your broth with a big slotted spoon for any bones, skin or fat before returning your meat to the broth).
For those of you looking for a quick, after-work dinner, just throw in some fresh or frozen breasts or use the rotisserie chickens from the deli. This will cut the cooking time way down (but also reduce your flavor a bit). Just cook the breasts about 20-30 min then chop. The roasted chicken won’t need to be boiled. Just add it to your water and beef base while precooking your veggies in a skillet with a little bit of butter.
Turn heat back up to high. When broth begins to boil, add your noodles. You can use any noodle of your choice. If I am not making homemade, I generally prefer Country Pasta (found in most pasta isles) or the Rhode’s frozen noodles. I like to have a thick, hearty noodle in my soup. If you use the Country Pasta or Rhode’s, you will need to cook them for what seems like an eternity (somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 minutes). During the last 5 minutes, add your fresh parsley and season to taste with salt.
Dish up with a big slice of Beer Bread (find recipe on my site) or crusty french bread.