Simple, unpretentious and nourishing to boot, this homemade chicken vegetable noodle soup is some serious feel-good food. It heroes a homemade stock, is a family friendly dish, and is packed with veggies and protein.
When it’s grey and drizzly outside, there are few of life’s simple pleasures better than a steaming bowl of homemade chicken soup. Am I right, or am I right?
This soup recipe features a simple, beginners homemade stock. It’s easy peasy to make your own and hard to beat flavour wise over store-bought options!
With protein-rich chicken, vegetables galore and oodles of noodles (sorry, HAD to), a bowlful serves up as a balanced dinner idea sure to be gobbled up by the whole family.
When making chicken stock and soup at home, keep these tips in mind:
Start with cold water. Some proteins within chook bones dissolve in cold water, some in hot water. For a richer, more flavourful stock, pour over cold water before bringing up the heat.
Simmer your stock, don’t boil. While initially brought to the boil, keep the stock at a bubbling simmer thereafter. A temperature too high will waft away lovely aromas and flavour compounds, leading to a flatter taste. Boo!
Skim the scum. As the stock cooks – particularly in the beginning – globs of white foam will float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon for a cleaner stock, with a more intense and concentrated flavour.
Strain the stock. Once your stock is done, strain with a fine mesh colander or sieve to remove impurities.
Season well! You may be surprised at just how much salt is needed to season a homemade soup that uses fresh stock. At the final stages of making your soup, taste test without seasoning (you’ll notice it’s very bland), then add salt – bit by bit, sampling all along the way – until the flavours come alive and it’s just right. This is the magic of salt!
Chicken soup is a quintessential go-to dish when feeling under the weather. It’s soothing and warm, and a great source of hydration, especially for a tickly throat or when bogged down with a cold. Beyond this, here are other possible benefits:
As a source of vegetables, a bowlful is an easy tasty way to increase your vegetable and dietary fibre intake.
Some nutrition perks of chicken soup come from parts of animals we don’t eat – the bones! When cooked, joint tissues dissolve into the stock, releasing glucosamine and chondroitin, nutrients linked to joint health (1)(2). These two are sometimes found in dietary supplements for arthritis and joint pain!
(Uber trendy) collagen is also released, which turns into gelatin when cooked. Gelatin is a protein with high amounts of glycine, which may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect in the body (3).
This soup will keep well for 3-4 days in the fridge.
During this time, you might notice it adopts a Jell-O type consistency. Don’t fear, this is a good sign that you’ve made a nutritious soup! This jelly-looking stuff is simply collagen extracted from the bones. When heated, it’ll liquify.
After time in the fridge, your noodle may become rather plump from soaking up stock. Feel free to add a splash of water or spare stock while reheating to get some body back.
150gdry egg noodles(or substitute for rice noodles for gluten-free)
2big handfuls of baby spinach or other leafy dark greens
1cupfrozen peas or corn
Salt and pepper, to taste
(Optional) 1-2tsp, or more to taste,chicken or vegetable stock powder
Remove chicken from any packaging and rinse in a sink with running cold water. Place chicken into a large soup pot with a fitted lid.
Pour water measure over the chicken. Turn stovetop heat to high and bring to a boil.
While the water temperature rises:• Add the peppercorns and bay leaves to the pot. • Roughly chop 2 of the carrots and 2 of the celery ribs and add to the pot. • Slice the green leaves off the leek and add around one cup of sliced leaves to the pot. • Leaving the skin on the garlic, slice off a few millimetres from the end of each clove, crush each clove flat with the back of a kitchen knife, and add each to the pot.
As the water temperature rises, a white foam will start to rise to the surface. Scoop the foam off with a spoon and discard.
Once water is boiling reduce to a simmer (this is a medium-low heat, with some gentle bubbling). Cover with lid and leave to cook for an hour minimum (or longer if you have time! Another half an hour is ideal). Rotate the chook (turn over) once during the cooking time.
While the soup is cooking prepare the other vegetables. Finely slice the white part of the leek. Slice remaining carrots in half lengthways, then half again lengthways. Slice into small chunks. Slice remaining celery ribs in half, then slice into small chunks.
Once the stock is done cooking, remove chicken carefully and place into a baking dish. Keep aside.
Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into another pot. Discard vegetables, peppercorns and bay leaves.
In the original soup pot drizzle a little olive oil and turn the heat to a medium. Add leeks and cook for ten minutes. Add carrots and celery and cook for another five minutes.
Pour stock back into pot. Bring to boil.
Once boiling, reduce to a medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until carrot has softened.
As the vegetables cook, remove chicken meat of the carcass and shred into smaller pieces.
Add noodles. Cook for five minutes, stirring once.
Add peas, baby spinach (finely slice leafy greens if using another variety), parsley and shredded chicken meat to the pot. Mix and then leave to cook for a few minutes.
Now it's time to season! It may surprise you with how much salt you need. I start with 1 Tbsp, then mix and taste, adding a tsp thereafter until it tastes right to my tastebuds (I usually end with around 2 Tbsp, but this can vary!). Add a few turns of the pepper shaker too. As an optional add on: if you'd like to boost the flavour of the stock, feel free to add chicken or vegetable stock powder to taste (keep in mind this is salty itself, so don't over do it! My pick for stock powder is the globally popular Vegeta).