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Chicken Noodle Soup

In the 1930’s, Campbell’s Soup combined two soup traditions that had long been considered remedies for sick people. For thousands of years, chicken broth was believed to help heal colds and flu (this has also been studied by scientists and although the mechanisms aren’t totally clear, we know it is packed with vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, gelatins and liver-friendly detoxicants). And noodle soups, which began in Asia, were given to sick people because they were easy to digest—they were a staple in America by the 1900’s. But Chicken Noodle Soup didn’t begin until the 1930’s, when the two traditions were combined and at first called Noodle with Chicken Soup by Campbell’s. A radio announcer, five years later, misspoke and called it Chicken Noodle Soup. For some reason everyone went crazy for this version of the name and it became the wildly popular staple comfort food soup it is today.

(makes 20-24 quarts)

  • 1 ½ cups Xvoo
  • 8 medium onions, chopped
  • 40 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 ribs celery, medium diced
  • 16 medium or 8 large carrots, medium diced
  • (keep your veggie pieces all close to the same so they cook evenly and don’t make them crazy face chunky or they will never be right)
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 30 thyme sprigs (nice sized handful), leaves pulled off stems
  • 2 TB salt (need to add more than this probably! Do not underseason or it suck sucks!)
  • 1 TB pepper
  • 20 OUNCES homemade egg noodles
  • 3 quarts by volume or 3.5 pounds by weight of shredded poached chicken (from making chicken broth)

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a stock pot and add onion, garlic, celery, carrot, bay leaf and thyme. COOK UNTIL SOFT BUT NOT BROWN, for 15 to 20 minutes (do not short on this step). Once the veggies are soft (but not brown), add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add your chicken and simmer a bit longer to heat through.

Cook noodles in mix of broth and water, cool and hold for service—careful not to overcook. Then add the noodles and let simmer and cook for about five minutes (this will vary depending on your noodle choice—just keep checking on them).

  • Homemade Stock
  • 18 Carrot, roughly wacked up
  • 27 Celery rib, roughly wacked up
  • 9 Yellow onion, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large bunch of thyme, stems on.
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 2 TB peppercorns
  • 20 chicken backs
  • 8 whole chickens or 36 chicken breasts
  • 27 quarts water (fill huge stock pot)

Put all of the above in a stockpot and fill with the water. Let simmer slowly, partially covered for 1 hour until the chicken is poached but not tough! Skim. Remove chicken breasts from pot (this will be a pain in the ass) and remove to a cutting board to shred. RESERVE FOR SOUP.

Continue cooking broth for another two hours, covered partially, letting it reduce by about a quarter to a third.

Once it has cooked for three to four hours, pour the contents of the pot through a strainer and cool it. You can strain it twice if you want. For clearer broth, use a ladle rather than pouring.

Finish broth with 1-2 TB fish sauce. Gives depth and umami.