If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that despite my best efforts at avoiding a winter cold, it seems that cold season has caught up with me. I woke up yesterday morning with a serious headache, achy bones, and limited air passageways in my nose. I hit the gym at my usual 6am time to try and sweat out what I thought was a mild bug but unfortunately, I left the gym feeling just as crummy, albeit a bit sweatier. I quickly came home, made some tea, and ate more than a few clementines. Nothing else sounded very appetizing to me except soup. Chicken noodle soup to be exact.
There is nothing quite as healing and
comforting as soup. The key to any good soup, especially chicken noodle soup, is having great stock. Making stock is one of those things that people perceive as a long, laborious process but really, it’s not difficult. Great stock takes time but there is a way to achieve a great soup base without hours and hours of simmering. I call it cheater’s stock.
I call it “cheater’s stock” because the process isn’t quite the same as a classic stock, but the results are just as delicious. The ingredients for making cheater’s stock are much cheaper than buying regular stock and the taste is so much better. This chicken noodle soup recipe, and pretty much any chicken soup recipe I make, involves making cheater’s stock a few hours ahead of time and then simply adding it to your soup. Easy, right? This soup is definitely a welcome relief for a winter cold and a nice change from the chocolate, cookies, and sugar-mania around here.
Gluten-free Chicken Noodle Soup
Yields: 8-10 servings
1 whole chicken, poached and shredded
4 oz. (or more if you like) gluten-free pasta – I’m partial to the Quinoa brand, especially in soups
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced (or you can do 2 smaller cloves of roasted garlic – it’s heavenly!)
3 medium carrots, peeled sliced into rounds
2 large celery stalks, sliced
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. allspice (Try it! It really brings a little something to the flavor)
8-10 cups cheaters stock, see recipe below (if you don’t feel like making stock substitute with store bough chicken stock or a mix of stock and water)
salt + pepper to taste
1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until just tender, about 5-7 minutes.
2. Add carrots and celery. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and put a lid on the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just slightly tender, about 10 minutes.
3. Add shredded chicken and stock. Bring to a boil.
4. Once your soup is boiling, add your noodles, thyme, and allspice. Turn the heat down to a simmer.
5. Let simmer, with the lid off, until pasta is fully cooked.
6. Season with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves and serve!
Cheater’s Chicken Stock
Yields: depends on how much water you use!
1 whole, bone-in, skin-on chicken, cut up into pieces*
3 carrots, peeled roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, with tops, roughly chopped,
1 large onion, quartered
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. dried parsley (if using fresh, use about a handful)
salt + pepper
*A whole chicken, including the back, produces the best flavor but I have also made this with just chicken breasts when I’m in a pinch.
1. Place all of your ingredients, except salt and pepper, in a very large stockpot. Use as much water as you like. I usually make about 8-10 quarts of stock but really, the water amount is up to you.
2. Bring stock up to a boil then reduce to a simmer. At this time, check to see if your chicken is done. If your chicken is finished cooking, remove and set aside. If your chicken is particularly fatty, you can occasionally scrape off the stuff that comes to the top of the water.
3. Simmer stock, partially covered for about 1 hour. This amount of time will change depending on the amount of water you used. You want a concentrated and rich flavor.
4. Season with salt and pepper. Be mindful of your salt level – you don’t want it to be too salty but you do want enough salt so that the flavors are bright.
5. Strain out solid ingredients. Now, you have stock!
*6. For this recipe, shred the cooled chicken with two forks and set aside.