The past few days have been rough, but even without some kind of ailment attacking the body, we can all agree that comfort foods help heal the soul just as much. Chicken noodle soup is no exception and it's even better when you make it from scratch. *Cue my ever-willing boyfriend who decided to make his own stock (which took 5 hours) just so I could have something delicious to eat and more importantly, something to, hopefully, keep down.* His MVP points have skyrocketed astronomically after this.
2 5-pound whole chickens
10-12 medium carrots, unpeeled
1 bunch of leeks
2 large red onions, unpeeled and quartered
6 celery stalks, greens removed
4 Bay leaves
10 sprigs rosemary
12 sprigs thyme
2 heads garlic, unpeeled
salt and pepper, to taste
The broth If you have a rotisserie and can prepare the chicken the night before to lessen the workload, do so. Season and cook the birds low and slow for about 2-2.5 hours. If not, I'm sure your local Costco or supermarket rotisserie chickens will do just fine.
- Separate the meat from the bone. Chicken soup needs…well…chicken. So, disrobe your bird and set the chicken aside. It's okay if you leave some skin on the bones. You want as much chicken flavor in the stock as possible.
- In a 16-20 quart stock pot on low heat, bring the chicken, five carrots chopped into thirds, the onion, three celery stalks rough chopped, one bay leaf, half of your rosemary and thyme. Slice the garlic in half and add it to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour about eight quarts of water into the pot. Almost enough to cover the food.
- Next, dig deep and really find your happy place because this is going to need to simmer for a few hours. Might be a good time to start a new series or finish a current one.
*Note: Be sure to taste your stock periodically. If the flavors are light, give them a boost by adding your favorite herbs and spices. Losing that chicken flavor? Add some store bought chicken stock to the mix.
Around the 4-hour mark is where things should really start to come together.
- If you love the stock just the way it is, remove it from the heat and then strain it to capture all the solid pieces. If you really want to refine the stock, strain it again and then use a cheesecloth.
- Add the liquid back to the stock pot with your noodles. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add with the remaining celery and carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces, a bay leaf, chicken meat, salt and the pepper. If necessary, pluck the leaves from the remaining rosemary and thyme and add to the pot as well.
Cook until heated trough and serve with a nice crusty bread. Mmmmmm.