Chicken Noodle Soup

by Sarah on February 6, 2012

Somehow, some way, I have avoided getting the sickness this year *knock wood*. I know that there have been some nasty bugs going around but perhaps my anti-social, hermit-like tendencies have managed to keep me safe. I HAVE, however, been working like a FIEND (by choice, don’t worry) which of course, tends to make one extremely tired.

What I’m getting at is that I was craving some chicken noodle soup. Not because I was sick, but because I was tired and craving some reviving soup. What is it about soup? It’s some kind of magical elixir, communicating the goodwill of a million doting grandmothers to a million sick and/or tired eaters.

This soup is deceptively simple. We’re going to start with raw chicken and poach it ourselves. That way we’ll have perfectly cooked chicken, plus the added bonus of flavorful chicken broth. You can use a whole chicken or use chicken pieces–the choice is yours. I happened to have chicken breasts left over so I used those.

Poaching chicken is easy. Just cover the chicken in cold water, add a bay leaf, some peppercorns, a couple cloves of garlic and a pinch or two of poultry seasoning and bring just to a boil. Lower the heat and let cook for a few till the chicken’s barely done. Take the chicken out and let it rest on a plate.

Strain the poaching liquid so you can use it for soup. Hey, it tastes like chicken. Yum.

The next step is to sauté the vegetables in some butter or olive oil a little to get a little extra flavor. Add some flour and let cook three minutes or so–why not, it’ll give the soup a little bit of body but I promise it won’t be thick.

Ok, add the chicken stock and the poaching liquid.

Bring the soup to a boil to cook the noodles. I chose spaghetti noodles for a couple of reasons……1) I had a box open and halfway empty; and 2) they cook quickly.

You can pick whatever but if you choose spaghetti or some other long noodle, you might want to break them into thirds.

The final and favorite step is a big old handful of herbage. It’s winter and all I have here is parsley, but when my herb garden is happy I like to add fresh tarragon or chive, or even some summer savory. I love the fresh flavor, it tastes so alive—and perhaps that is part of it’s life-giving properties.

Chicken Noodle Soup


  • 3 chicken breasts, or equivalent amount of other chicken parts
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 pinches poultry seasoning
  • 1 big can chicken stock
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 2 Tbsp tarragon
  • 1/2 lb spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt, pepper, chili flakes


  • Place chicken in Dutch oven and cover with cold water. Put garlic clove, bay leaf, poultry seasoning, a tsp of salt and peppercorns in water. Bring to a boil Immediately reduce heat to low and poach for 15 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and strain poaching liquid, reserving liquid.
  • Heat olive oil in Dutch oven.
  • Add carrot, onion and celery. Saute for a few minutes.
  • Add flour. Cook for at least 3-4 minutes.
  • Add chicken stock and poaching liquid.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Break noodles into thirds. Add to boiling stock. Cook to al dente.
  • Add chicken and herbs to soup. Stir through.
  • Taste soup and season to taste, using salt, pepper, chili flakes and poultry seasoning as necessary.

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