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Chicken Noodle Soup

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Whether it is a cold winter day, or if you have come down with the flu, or it’s rainy outside – chicken noodle soup comes to the rescue. There’s just something about this soup, something magical, that no matter where you are or doing at the moment, you are back in your cozy childhood when you sip this soup.

It brings a smile to your face when you remember all the times when your mom or dad served you up this soup.

I know for me, this soup brings a smile to my face and it reminds me of all the times that my dad gave us kids this soup. In fact, I think the only time we had this soup when we were growing up, was when my dad served it. And he only served it because it meant my mom was out of town and it was up to him to make the family dinner. It was usually from the can, but he always made sure there were plenty of saltines with peanut butter on them. Why? To dip in the soup, of course!

Sounds weird huh? It was a tradition in our home. And when I got married, the tradition for my husband growing up was to always have chocolate milk with this soup. You can imagine the debate between us, whether chocolate milk or peanut buttered saltines were better with chicken noodle soup. The debate is still in motion to this day, four years after being married. So, what’s your family tradition?

Everyone has their own version of chicken noodle soup, and this is just my own twist on it. This version is different not by the ingredients, but how you prepare the soup. And I’ve noticed from my years of making my own chicken broth, that this way of making it is not only easier but much tastier. What’s the difference? Hacking the chicken so the bone flavors come out, and browning the chicken pieces first before adding water. I got that idea from Cooks Illustrated, and it’s a great tip! It results in tasty in-your-face flavor without having to add a bunch of salt.

Chicken Noodle Soup

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Here’s what you’ll need:

4 chicken thighs, skin on and bone-in
4 chicken legs, skin on and bone-in
1 onion, quartered
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. salt
6-7 carrots, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cups dry egg noodles
1 tbsp. oil
Italian Seasoning

1. Hack the chicken legs and thighs through the bone, it doesn’t matter how big or small the pieces. (I have the meat department at my grocery store do this before buying, much easier this way).

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2. Rinse chicken and pat dry.

3. In large pot, add 1 tbsp. oil and heat over medium-high or until oil is smoking slightly.

4. Add a few chicken pieces at a time to the pot, do not crowd the chicken otherwise it will not brown as well. Brown chicken (do not fully cook through) on all sides and then transfer to plate for later. Between batches of chicken, pour out any excess oil. Be careful not to get rid of all the browning bits (you want those!!)

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5. After all the chicken is browned and out of the pot, add the onion and garlic. See all the bits and juice next to the onion in the picture below? That is the achieved goal you want out of browning the chicken – all of those flavor bits! That is what will make this soup! Still on medium heat, stir onion and add the chicken pieces together in the pot. Turn to low and cook to simmer for 20 minutes, covered.

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6. Add enough water to the pot to just barely cover all the chicken (a little over 8 cups). Throw in the two bay leaves and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 more minutes.

7. Remove bay leaves and chicken pieces to cool. Separate chicken meat from the bone and fat, save the meat in a separate container for the next day. Throw away bones and fat. Take pot off heat and let it cool completely before putting in the fridge.

8. Once cooled, place entire pot in fridge and leave overnight.

9. The next day, take it out when you’re ready to serve. See that white layer on top of the pot? That’s all the fat that has separated from the broth and surfaced. Gently scoop out the fat with a spatula, discard all of the fat. Bring to the broth to a boil again. Add chicken meat and carrots. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until carrots are tender.

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10. Once tender, bring to a boil again and add the egg noodles. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add seasonings and serve with crusty bread.