Thursday, January 13, 2011

Debunk the Junk: Chicken Noodle Soup

Every so often I'm going to post about "Debunk the Junk." The idea of these posts will be to illustrate how I am replacing a particular modern food item with something much healthier and usually tastier.

This soup is really good and it's good for you. Of course, some of the stuff I did in prep for the soup is not necessary for the final product (making your own broth), but I think it makes it better (or at least more satisfying in the esteem sense, not the "I'm full" sense). This recipe isn't too hard to make. It takes a long time, but not much hands-on time. Not any more than many other meals.

Because canned soup has a ridiculous sodium content (and it's not even good salt), funky preservatives, most kinds have minimal veggies (and chicken for that matter), and the noodles are pasty slimy white things.

Make chicken stock from a small chicken (aka, a fryer). Mine was 3.5 lbs.
Chop a bunch of veggies; add a can of tomatoes and / or corn.
Add pasta and chicken last.
Salt & pepper to taste.

3.5 lbs fryer
15oz can of tomatoes and / or corn (I just used tomatoes)
4 or 5 carrots, 1 large onion, 6 celery stalks (could also add mushrooms)
salt & pepper


Make Stock
Boil whole fryer for an hour or two--until the meat is done.
Carefully remove fryer and pick all the meat off.
Chop up bones, cartilage, and skin and return to pot.
Add a couple tablespoons of vinegar.
Simmer overnight or all day (or both). The longer you simmer it the more nutrients and flavor you will get out of the bones.
Carefully strain shtuff out of broth (shtuff, not fat. keep the fat).

Putting it Together
Don't skimp on veggies! It gives so much rich flavor to the soup... yum (and it's good for you).
Pick vegetables that you like and chop to a size that you like. Celery, onions, carrots, and mushrooms are a pretty standard combo.
Give the veggies time to cook.
Salt & pepper to taste. I made about 5 quarts and I used about 1.5 tbsp of salt (I think). You can always add more so be careful.
Add the chicken the same time as the pasta. Overcooked chicken is nasty, so don't do it. Don't be that guy.

Let it cook till whenever.
It's really good with bread generously spread with butter.

I loved this soup! It's so comforting and filling and it tastes really good.
When simmering the bones, notice, "simmer," not "rolling boil." it should just barely be bubbling in the center of the pot. You don't want to wake up to a house fire.
When I took the fryer out of the pot, it completely disintegrated and splashed up all over the stove. I stuck a spoon into it's cavity and lifted up. I suggest getting a couple spatulas and going underneath the fryer and doing it that way.
Don't skimp on veggies! (I mean it).
For a fun twist, try making your own pasta, it's a blast and it tastes great.
You could also use rice or diced potatoes instead of pasta (or nothing).
You can feed the shtuff from straining the broth to cats, but be careful not to give it to dogs.
You can make the broth just from the bones and not the whole fryer, but you might need to save up bones from a few chickens or if you had a large chicken and not a fryer you would probably have enough.
This soup can be as brothy or hearty as you like. If you have the flu, a simple broth might be just the thing to settle your stomach. If you're craving some soup to get the chill off your bones, make a hearty, veggie filled soup with chunkier veggies / meat.

What do you think? Do think this recipe takes too long? What's your favorite soup recipe?


  1. ok, just finished eating you've got me wanting soup! I love soup & you are so right about the high sodium content of the canned stuff. ugh

  2. Not all of it has really high sodium, but you're standard Campbell's soup does. And don't get me started on Ramen. :)

    Hehe, you should totally make a batch of soup. It's great for warming up after all this snow!