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6th January
written by Steph

Guaranteed to cure what ails ya!

Guaranteed to cure what ails ya!

It’s cold/flu season, so I know I’m not alone when I tell you that part of my holiday this year involved lying in bed sick as a dog (though to be honest, our dogs never seem to get as sick as I do…).  It was a bummer being all snotty-yet-stuffy nosed and achey and fevered, even if my mom was there to take care of me… but then we returned to Nashville and things got worse because now my mom wasn’t even there to take care of me!  However, I’m not my mother’s daughter for nothing and I swiftly decided Tony and I needed to cook up a big pot of my mom’s chicken noodle soup, because if there’s one thing I want to eat when I’m sick, it’s that (well that and pho, but chicken noodle soup is way easier to make from home).  So today’s recipe is brought to you courtesy of my mom, because while I’m sure tons of people out there have their own CNS recipes, my mom’s is the BEST at curing what ails ya.  Trust me.  It’s got secret ingredients and everything. Ingredients
  • Approx 3 lbs of bone-in chicken – we used chicken legs (with thigh) because I always feel like dark meat holds up better to poaching/boiling than white meat, but if breast meat is your thing or you want to do a combo, have at it.  Just make sure you’ve got bones so you can make stock! (Added benefit, bone-in chicken is always cheaper than the deboned stuff; additionally, dark meat is pretty much always cheaper than white meat!)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped roughly into quarters
  • 6 stalks of celery (including the leaves!)
  • 3 cups of baby carrots (or the equivalent in big carrots)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tbsp of peppercorns
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bunch of kale, leaves removed (stalks discarded) and chopped/ripped into bite-size pieces
  • 3 cups of uncooked egg noodles
  • approx 3 tbsp of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon, plus juices (plus potentially the juice of one more lemon)
  • chopped parsley (for garnish, if desired)
Method 1.  Prepare chicken.  Remove skin from chicken (because the skin is just full of fat and will make your broth icky) and place pieces of chicken into large stock pot.  Add water until chicken pieces are just covered (plus perhaps and inch or so… you’ll probably wind up adding about 5 cups of water).  Throw in your garlic and bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to just barely a simmer.  Cover chicken and let cook until just cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Remove chicken (but make sure to reserve the water!) and let cool until you can comfortably remove the flesh from the bones. 2.  Make stock.  After removing the chicken flesh from the bones, place the bones back into the stock pot and add in the bay leaves, the peppercorns, ½ of the onion (roughly chopped), 3 stalks of celery plus leaves (roughly chopped) and about 1 cup of baby carrots.  As this will be the broth for the soup, add in any additional water depending on how much broth you would like to have total. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer for at least 45 min – 1 hour.  The longer you cook this stuff the more flavor you’ll get! 3.  Once you’re ready to prepare the soup, strain the contents of your stock pot so that you can separate the solids from the liquid.  Discard all solids and return the broth back to the pot. 4.  Chop your chicken into bite-size pieces and return to pot.  Add in remaining celery, carrots, and onions, chopped into bite-size pieces.  Add in your thyme and salt & pepper to taste, as well as the chopped ginger and the lemon zest.  Bring contents to a boil and then reduce to medium heat. 5.  Put second pot of water on to boil, salt it and then cook your egg noodles according to directions (if given a range, cook to the lower end so still al dente).  Once water for noodles begins to boil, this is probably a good time to add your kale to the pot containing the other veggies and the chicken.  When noodles have cooked, drain them and place small portion in the bottom of each serving bowl. 6.  Prior to serving soup, squeeze in the juice of one lemon (add additional juice if you like the tang!) and then ladle into individual bowls over top the noodles.  Sprinkle with sprigs of chopped parsley, if desired. Bon appétit!
    Even Rory wants a bite (or two)...

    Even Rory wants a bite (or two)...

    For me the thing that really sets this soup apart from all others is the addition of the ginger and the lemon.  Both work wonders on sore throats and stuffy noses and add a really lovely depth of flavor.  Whatever curative properties chicken soup on its own has, I really think the addition of these two things increase its benefits many times over.  You could in theory add the zest and the ginger during the stock making portion of the recipe, however for me part of the eating experience of this soup is picking out the bits of ginger (since I like the flavor they add to the stock, but don’t so much love taking a big bite out of them!  Hence chopping them up rather large so they’re easy to spot!); it’s the way I’ve been doing it since I was a kid!  Even if you're not normally a ginger fan (I don't get those people who wolf down mouthfuls of the pickled stuff when at Japanese restaurants), I urge you to try it here.  Again, you don't have to eat the actual pieces of ginger, they just add a wonderful aromatic spiciness to the soup that will really help clear up any head cold you may be suffering from. Another thing I should emphasize is that I cook my noodles separate from the rest of the soup, only incorporating them at the very end. The reason I do this is that I’ve found that if you boil your noodles in the soup itself then they tend to soak up most of the broth and if you have any leftovers you’ll find yourself lacking in the liquid department after a night in the fridge.  By adding the noodles to the soup after both elements have cooled (I don't store the noodles and the soup in separate containers), I’ve largely avoided this problem. I made this soup for Tony for the first time just a month or so after we started dating and he came down with a cold.  This time, he made it for me!  This soup tastes great regardless of the person cooking, but having Tony make it certainly added to the allure this time!  With a bowl of this in my belly, I know I’m on the road to recovery!  This is soul-satisfying, nourishing food at its best!


    1. Nadia

      Your soup looks absolutely delicious!! Yummy!! I’ll have to give that recipe a try – thanks for sharing it! By the by, hope the soup made you feel better 🙂

    2. 01/06/2010

      I just made homemade chicken soup last night for dinner for the first time! I must say, it didn’t look half as appetizing as your does, and I bet it didn’t taste as good either! I am going to print off this recipe for next time because it would probably tun out much better with the addition of a few of your secret ingredients! I will have to remember the tip about cooking the noodles first before adding them, I hadn’t thought of them soaking up all the broth, but it makes sense.

    3. 01/06/2010

      Can I come over? Feeling hungry all of a sudden.

    4. 01/06/2010

      It sure looks good!

    5. 01/07/2010

      @ Nadia: I think the soup did the trick! Mom wins again!
      @ zibilee: The first time I made this soup, I cooked the noodles in the same pot as everything else and then had no broth the next day. Since I’ve been doing it this way, I’ve had no problems whatsoever (well, just finding a big enough pot to make enough soup! 😉 ). I hope it works out for you!
      @ Frances: If you’re willing to make your way to Nashville, I’m willing to cook…
      @ softdrink: If you can believe it, it tasted even better than it looked!

    6. mee

      Great recipe! Chicken soup can never go wrong, and I love ginger put in soup! I’ll save this for when we have a cold ;). I usually have my chicken soup with potato and ginger, and that’s it. The noodle is great addition. Why didn’t I think of that?!

    7. 01/08/2010

      @ mee: You can really put whatever you like in this soup – peas, potatoes, a different kind of noodles, dumplings – anything your heart desires! This is how I like to make it, but use it for inspiration!

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