When I think of chicken noodle soup, two things come to mind: fall weather and being sick. Since I’m hoping no one needs this because of illness, let’s go with the beautiful cool fall weather that we’ve had lately as the perfect reason to make a batch of chicken noodle soup.
I got the original recipe for this from my Aunt Shawn when I lived with her for a few years while I was in college. She would make this whenever we started to get the cooler weather in Florida. Which was, you know, maybe 3 weeks out of the year! I have since modified the recipe a little for our tastes, but it still is basically her recipe.
The key to this soup is getting a mesh laundry bag. There are a few ingredients that later need to be removed from the soup, so this works really well for keeping those all together. Then when it’s time you can just remove the bag and everything comes out with it.
Start by putting your chicken and onions in the mesh bag. The onions only need to be cut a few times, enough to get the flavors into the soup. If you like the taste of onions, you can add some of them to the soup as well, but personally, I don’t like to bite into a chunk of onion. You can use a whole chicken (that’s how my aunt made it) but I prefer to use chicken breast because I don’t like dark meat.
Then fill the large stock pot with 8 cups of chicken broth and 4 cups of water, making sure the chicken and onion are in the broth.
Add in the rest of your ingredients except the noodles: carrots, celery, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and parsley. Cover the pot and bring it all to a boil then reduce to a simmer. When you put the cover on, make sure some of the mesh bag is sticking out so it doesn’t fall in the pot completely, but also be aware that it isn’t touching the burner or too close to the flame on a gas stovetop. Let this cook until the chicken is cooked through. When I use boneless chicken breast, this takes about 20-30 minutes. If you are using a whole chicken, it will probably take closer to an hour.
Once the chicken is cooked through, carefully remove the mesh bag from the rest of the soup. I usually use some tongs to grab it and have a bowl ready to place it in. Then remove the chicken from the bag and either shred it or cut it into bite-sized chunks. If you want some of the onions in the soup, you can also chop these up as well. Like I mentioned, I don’t like the onions in it, so I just discard them at this point.
Add the chicken back into the soup, and add in the uncooked noodles. Bring it all to a boil and cook until the noodles are done, about 10 minutes depending on the noodles.
If you plan to save some of this for leftovers, I suggest undercooking the noodles just slightly. Cook them enough that you will still enjoy it fresh, but honestly, this soup is better the next day. After it sits in the refrigerator overnight the noodles really soak in the flavors of the soup, and they also get a bit softer because of it. When the noodles are fully done or overcooked then they become mushy the next day.
- 1 lb chicken breast boneless, skinless
- 2 onions
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 5 cups water
- 4 carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp parsley
- 16 oz egg noodles medium
Peel and largely chop onions and place in a mesh laundry bag
Add chicken to the mesh bag
Pour chicken broth and water into a large stockpot
Set mesh bag in pot
Slice up carrots and celery and add to pot
Add onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and parsley
Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cover, cooking until chicken is cooked through
Take mesh bag out of pot and remove chicken and onion from the bag
Break up chicken and add back to soup
Either add onion back to soup, or discard (soup already has flavor of onions)
Add noodles into soup and bring to a boil
Cook until noodles are just slightly undercooked*
*Unless you plan to serve the entire pot of soup, slightly undercook the noodles. While it sits overnight in the refrigerator as leftovers, the noodles will absorb some of the liquid (and flavor) making them softer the next day.