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Chicken Noodle Soup

Can you beat chicken noodle soup? I don’t really think you can. Everyone loves chicken noodle soup from the oldest to the youngest in the house, and as soon as the weather dips below 60 it’s not only constantly appropriate, but consistently welcome. I so rarely hear people say they’re making a pot of chicken noodle soup, though. Hopefully this will inspire you.

I’m a sucker for a sale and the meat guy at my farmer’s market was selling skin on, bone-in chicken leg quarters for a dollar off per pound. I, like many of you, am most comfortable with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, so I had to think of the best way to use these “fattier” parts. I bought some carrots and a big head of escarole, and figured I could make some soup.

By searing the chicken parts in some olive oil, I maximized the flavor from the start creating lots of “fond” or the sticky brown stuff on the bottom of the pot. With this flavor boost I found I didn’t need tons of arbitrary ingredients to make this taste great; it’s a relatively short list which makes it as do-able for a weeknight as a Sunday afternoon. This will serve your family of four leaving at least a dinner leftover – it freezes wonderfully.

My mom and I were recently discussing how to make it through the food and fun filled holiday season without gaining weight. I suggested that whenever your meal is up to YOU (as in, not a restaurant or friend’s house), you eat a bowl of broth-based soup or a salad. Hopefully the masses of low calorie meals will balance the pie. Oh how I love pie.

You might raise an eyebrow at egg noodles? America’s Test Kitchen says they don’t get as spongy and full of liquid. They hold their consistency better – best for soup. If you don’t have egg noodles just use any small shaped pasta you like.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves 8

1 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 1/2 lb. bone in, skin on chicken (thighs, legs, or breasts)

2-3 leeks, white and light green parts, finely chopped (can also use 1 small or 2 large onions)

3 stalks celery, diced

4 carrots, peeled, trimmed and diced

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

10 c. chicken broth (or 10 c. water and 2 tbsp. Better Than Bouillon)

1 heat escarole, green and light green parts, chopped

2 c. egg noodles

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat oil over medium high heat in large pot or dutch oven. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and place skin side down in oil.

2. Cook, undisturbed, until chicken releases from the pan, well browned, Flip and cook on second side until browned. Remove chicken to a plate and, if necessary, pull off and discard any pieces of skin sticking to the bottom of the pot.


3. Add leeks, celery and carrots. Add salt and pepper. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan well. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5-8 minutes.


4. Clear a space in the center of the veggies and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly golden, about 30 seconds.

5. Add chicken broth and stir to combine; turn heat to high and place the lid on the pot; bring to boil.

6. Add escarole and let mixture simmer for several minutes (lid off)


7. Add pasta and let simmer (lid off) about 10 minutes or until noodles are tender.

8. Meanwhile, tear chicken meat from bones and discard bones and skin. Chop or shred chicken to bite sized pieces.

9. Turn heat to low and stir in lemon juice and parsley, and chicken. Serve, topped with addition parsley if desired.