Quick and Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup

Published January 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

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Why this recipe works:

To create a faster, more convenient, but still deeply flavored chicken soup recipe, we sautéed ground chicken before cooking it in a combination of water and canned chicken broth. In less than an hour we had an intense, golden stock for our chicken noodle soup recipe.

To create a faster, more convenient, but still deeply flavored chicken soup recipe, we sautéed ground chicken before cooking it in a combination of water and canned chicken broth. In less than an hour we had an intense, golden stock for our chicken noodle soup recipe.

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Serves 4 to 6

When skimming the fat off the stock, we prefer to leave a little bit on the surface to enhance the soup’s flavor. The soup can be prepared through the end of step 2 and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Store the chicken breasts in a zipper-lock bag with the air squeezed out and the stock in an airtight container.

Ingredients

  • Stock
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 small onion, chopped medium (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped medium (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium celery rib, chopped medium
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves (about 12 ounces each), cut in half crosswise
  • Soup
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 small onion, halved and sliced thin (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium celery rib, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium russet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 ounces egg noodles (about 1 cup)
  • 4 - 6 Swiss chard leaves, ribs removed, torn into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups) (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. 1. For the stock: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add ground chicken, onion, carrot, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is no longer pink, 5 to 10 minutes (do not brown chicken).

    2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add water, broth, bay leaves, salt, and chicken breasts; cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove lid, increase heat to high, and bring to boil. (If liquid is already boiling when lid is removed, remove chicken breasts immediately and continue with recipe.) Transfer chicken breasts to large plate and set aside. Continue to cook stock for 20 minutes, adjusting heat to maintain gentle boil. Strain stock through fine-mesh strainer into large pot or container, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Allow liquid to settle about 5 minutes and skim off fat (see note).

    3. For the soup: Return stock to Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. In small bowl, combine cornstarch and water until smooth slurry forms; stir into stock and bring to gentle boil. Add onion, carrots, celery, and potato and cook until potato pieces are almost tender, 10 to 15 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain gentle boil. Add egg noodles and continue to cook until all vegetables and noodles are tender, about 5 minutes longer.

    4. Meanwhile, remove skin and bones from reserved cooked chicken and discard. Shred meat with fingers or 2 forks. Add shredded chicken, Swiss chard (if using), and parsley to soup and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; serve.

Step-by-Step

Fast Track to Flavorful Chicken Soup

1. SAUTÉ GROUND CHICKEN

Sauté ground chicken with aromatics to deepen flavor.

2. POACH CHICKEN BREASTS

Add water, broth, and breast halves; poach breasts about 30 minutes and remove.

3. THICKEN STOCK

Strain stock and thicken with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch.

4. ADD CHICKEN

Shred breasts and add to pot with vegetables to create fast, hearty soup.

Shopping

Bag the Bones

Instead of waiting hours to extract flavor from a chicken carcass, we short-cut the process using ground chicken meat, which releases flavor far more quickly.

OLD-FASHIONED APPROACH

MODERN METHOD

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