Remember as a kid when you were sick your mom told you that you had to eat soup because it would make you feel better? Apparently mom wasn’t totally wrong. The key to it though, is using the best ingredients and making it taste delicious so eating it isn’t something you dread.
The first thing you should know, is that it is crucial that you use the WHOLE chicken. If you want to only use legs and thighs instead, that’s fine, but you need the bones to produce the good stuff. I’m not going to act like I know all about the science of it, but to my understanding, the naturally occurring gelatin in animal bones is really beneficial to promote gut health- which is beneficial for overall health. Yay, health!
It sounds totally off putting, I know. But it’s important to mention because you need to understand the importance of using as many real ingredients as possible for this soup. It also adds much better flavor, so there’s that.
There are also lots of fresh veggies, and each one adds it’s own layer of yummy goodness to your broth. I use carrot, celery, onion, and turnip. I used to be cautious of using turnips because you don’t hear of them often, but imagine that celery had a baby with onion (for the flavor) and then it was raised by a potato (for the texture). I’m pretty confident the result would be a turnip. So, basically they’re perfect for this soup.
I always make mine in a crockpot because you really want it to cook slow and allow everything to get really tender. If you don’t have one, you can cook on a low setting in a large pot.
You want to start with the veggies, and don’t let anyone tell you different. They need to go under the chicken so that they can get really absorb that flavor.
I recommend dicing them up fairly small. The only reason is really so that you can get a little of everything each bite.
Once all the veggies are chopped and added, place your chicken right on top and sprinkle the seasonings over top. This is best so that you can really let the chicken bask in them for a little bit. Then, all that’s left to do is fill almost to the top with water. If your crockpot is a little bigger, use this as a reference. Fully covering the chicken will be too much liquid and it might turn out a little bland.
NOTE: Do NOT use chicken stock or broth. The point here is that using the whole chicken will create a stock while it cooks, so it is 100% not necessary. Keep it simple, guys.
You can cook this on low for about 6-8 hours, or high for about 4. I recommend flipping the chicken over about halfway through, just so that you can incorporate all the spices in and get both sides nice and moist.
When the chicken is done, remove it from the pot and let it cool. By this time it should be just starting to fall off the bone. You really need to slow cook it to get this to happen, and it’s important because it makes removal a lot easier.
Once it’s cool enough to handle, shred the chicken into bite size portions. DO NOT LEAVE BEHIND THE DARK MEAT. I used to silently judge my mom so hard for eating dark meat. I sincerely thought it was one of the most disgusting things in the world… Then I spent my own money on a whole chicken and was not about to waste a single drop of meat, so I swallowed my pride and ate it. The only bad part is that white meat chicken has never been the same since. Seriously, the flavor is awesome. Don’t waste it.
One thing to note, too, is that you don’t have to use the whole thing. You can, if you like more meat, but I like to only use half and then save the other half for a next day meal.
After the chicken is shredded, toss it back into the pot and get started on your noodles.
I have tried a lot of different noodles for this soup, but nothing beats the good old fashion egg noodles. Nothing. And they’re like $.99, so you’re welcome.
When it’s all said and done, you’re going to have something along these lines. The flavor isn’t like “OMG THIS IS SoOoO GOOD,” but it’s not supposed to be. I wanted the kind of soup that would really just take you back to simpler times and make you feel good eating it.
I can definitely say that this recipe does that.
1 Whole chicken
4 celery stalks
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves
1 bag wide egg noodles
Chop veggies and garlic and add to crockpot. Set whole chicken on top. Sprinkle seasonings over the top and add water almost to the brim. Toss bay leaves into water. Cook on high for about 4 hours or until chicken starts to fall apart.
Shred the chicken into bite size portions and toss back in to the soup.
Cook your egg noodles as normal and mix into soup just before serving.