An old-fashioned, homemade chicken noodle soup is by definition American comfort food, and a trusted recipe is a required staple for any home cook.
Because of its simplicity, the quality of ingredients must be above the norm. This means commercial chicken stock should be avoided in favor of freshly made, and this version incorporates the making of stock into its recipe. Canned or pre-packaged stock can be used but the difference will be notable; avoid bouillon cubes at all costs.
For this application, chicken wings are best as they are cheap and have a relatively large amount of connective tissue, essential for the unctuous nature of a good stock. Searing the wings first lends an easy layer of flavor, and a long, low simmer will almost melt the chicken off the small wing bones. The perfect tool for this is a counter-top slow cooker, which can be left all day unattended and have a warm stock ready for cooking at any time.
A standard mirepoix is all the aromatics needed for the soup, and spices are kept to a minimum but may be extensively customized. Mace is an often overlooked spice but is great for the base as it lends depth with a flavor somewhere between nutmeg and red pepper flakes. Egg noodles will provide a soft, light texture but broken linguine, shells, macaroni or any small pasta shape will work equally well.
Cooking the noodles in the soup allows them to plump up with the stock’s own flavor. Finish with a squeeze of lemon, and proper seasoning may take more salt than you expect.
Chicken Noodle Soup
6 chicken wings
6 oz egg noodles
1 yellow onion
1 stalk of celery
1 clove of garlic
1 T parsley
¼ t mace
black pepper (ground)
1 Sauté the wings in oil until lightly browned. Add 8-10 c water, bay leaf, half the onion, peppercorns and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2-4 hrs.
2 Remove the wings and set aside to cool. Strain the stock and discard the solids.
3 Dice the celery, carrot, garlic and remaining onion and sauté in oil until soft, about 5 min. Add the reserved stock and spices and bring to a low boil.
4 Add the noodles and simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 10 min or until cooked through.
5 Pull the meat from the wings and add to the soup. Season to taste.
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