Chicken noodle soup is supposedly the cure for everything, but what are you supposed to do when there is no one to make it for you? Everybody in my house got sick this week, so I was still in charge of comforting us with soul food, but I didn’t really have the energy to actually cook. Luckily I had several leftover chicken breasts and the frozen carcass from roasting a chicken earlier this week, but I originally designed this recipe around a store bought rotisserie chicken when I was in college. If I could accomplish it then, I’m certain sick you can handle it now.
Note: The amounts in this recipe are pretty flexible. This will serve about 4 people, but if you’re pathetically sick at home and can scrape together some ingredients from your fridge, do it. Since I cook so much, I almost always have carrots, celery, and onions, although I still had to use my bag of baby carrots. If you don’t have the necessary items, bribery is an excellent tactic.
Equipment: Stockpot or Dutch oven
1 rotisserie chicken, or at least 8oz leftover chicken plus several bones or carcass
1 cup Carrots (I used baby carrots because they were all I had, and there was the bonus of not peeling or cutting them)
2 stalks celery (I broke them into thirds because I didn’t want to cut it)
1 onion, roughly chopped
32 oz chicken broth
1 tbsp. butter or oilive oil
Frozen green peas
Secret Saucy Ingredient: Vegemite*
*This is an optional ingredient, but vegemite has recently become my secret weapon. Those of us who experienced Australia day and were forced to try it on dry toast in 3rd grade (just me? Ok) might turn our noses up at the idea, but most Americans have this product all wrong. It’s so rich and savory it can be overwhelming at first, but a teaspoon or two in soup or stew adds an umami (the sixth flavor, if you’re not familiar) blast that really pops. The flavor is pretty neutral, and its vegan, so it’s a nice way to pep things up without fat or meat based products.
If using a rotisserie chicken, pull the meat off the bones using a fork or your hands. Set meat aside, and place chicken carcass and skin into pot (the skin seasons the soup without extra effort on your part). If using leftovers, place any scraps of skin, meat, or bones in pot, reserving good meat portions for later.
Pour in chicken broth, and add carrots, celery, bay leaf, and onion. Add cold water until chicken carcass is just covered, or pot is about 2/3 full. Bring to a boil on stove.
When liquid is boiling, reduce to simmer and cover for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove cover and continue to simmer merrily until broth is reduced and tastes richly of chicken. Remove chicken and vegetables with mesh skimmer or slotted spoon, reserving carrots and celery if desired. (I only saved the carrots, and you can also save the onions, but my guinea pigs don’t like them.)
Add a cup or two of egg noodles to broth, along with vegemite if using, and boil 3 minutes. Add chicken, frozen peas, and vegetables, if reserved. Simmer until noodles are tender and chicken is hot. Stir in butter or oil at end to richen taste if you want, and feel better soon!