Chicken noodle soup: A touch of spring in a traditional recipe
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Chicken noodle soup isn’t only for the frigid days of winter.
It can also be enjoyed during warmer spring days or summer, depending on how strong the cravings are for it.
During spring, there is excess pollen in the air that brings on wretched seasonal allergies.
Seasonal allergies often generate different symptoms such as watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, a cough and a headache.
When feeling under the weather, a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup infused with nutrients may be just what you need to combat those allergy symptoms.
The heat from the soup helps clear nasal congestion and relieves pain and sinus pressure, according to Penn Medicine. Broth-based soups like chicken noodle, French onion and vegetable soup also assist in hydrating the body.
Whether you need a pick-me-up from those spring allergies or relief from a pesky cold — or if you’re just in the mood for a healthy meal overflowing with veggies and protein — ditch the canned soup and try this homemade recipe.
- 4 big carrots
- 4 sticks of celery
- 1 small yellow onion
- 62 oz of chicken stock
- 2-3 chicken breasts
- 6 fresh garlic cloves
- Juice from 1-2 fresh lemons
- Fresh bay leaves
- Fresh thyme stems
- Fresh parsley
- Pasta noodles (pastina is recommended)
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
In a medium to large pot on low heat, add all of your chicken stock. Slice celery and carrots finely and add to the pot.
By slicing the veggies thin vs. chopping them thick, you’ll have more per spoonful of soup without taking up too much room in the pot.
Add fresh cloves of garlic to the pot after peeling.
If you want to dice, feel free, but for this recipe, it’s recommended you keep the cloves whole.
The same sentiment goes for the small yellow onion. After it is peeled, if you prefer chopped pieces of onion in your soup, feel free to chop. Otherwise, you can cut the ends of the onion off and add it whole to the pot. Fresh onion flavor will immerse throughout the soup without needing to bite into the veggie.
You can add your chicken breasts whole to the pot and let them cook in the soup.
For this recipe, you can cook your chicken in a number of ways.
First, you can add your chicken breasts whole to the pot and let them cook in the soup. If you choose to do this, you’ll want to take a fork to the breasts when the soup is done and shred the chicken. The meat will easily fall apart to a fork.
Or, you can cook the chicken on the stovetop before adding to the soup.
If you choose this option, you may lose some juiciness from the chicken after it also sits in the pot of broth.
You can also dice your chicken breasts if you prefer chunks and add this to the pot — or cook it on the stovetop beforehand and then add.
Next, chop the parsley fine and add it to the broth. At least a fistful of parsley will add a wonderful, peppery taste to the soup. Here, add salt and pepper, three or four bay leaves and four or five stems of thyme. If you prefer to remove the leaves from the thyme stems, this would be the time to do so.
If you’re hoping to emit all the possible flavor from the leaves, include the stems and remove them before serving. The thyme leaves will fall right off the stems while they cook in the pot.
Because this is a spring recipe for chicken noodle soup, you’ll want to include some flavors of the flourishing fruits and vegetables in season during the months of April, May and June.
While you’ve already added carrots, celery, onion and a savory assortment of herbs, there’s one little touch of spring flavor that’s missing so far — and that is citrus.
Rather than squeezing fresh lemon juice into the pot of soup, simply slice your thoroughly washed lemon and intermingle the fruit with the chicken and veggies.
About 20 minutes before serving, remove your lemon slices and cook your pasta in the pot of soup. You’ll capture all the flavors of the pasta in the pot this way.
If you like your chicken noodle soup a little creamy, add one or two egg yolks to the soup when you add your pasta.
Be sure to add them slowly and stir in well as you want to avoid cooking the egg and chewing on yolk chunks.
Overall, your soup should cook for at least two hours on low heat to saturate all ingredients into one stunning but classic flavor.
Add a dash of red pepper flakes at the end if you prefer your soup with a little extra kick.