Monday, July 6, 2009

Chicken Noodle Soup

I’ve had this written up for about a week already, but then life began to get in the way. I do apologize sincerely however and I hope that you all enjoy this recipe.

Chicken noodle soup is without a doubt one of my absolute favorite things in the world. Unfortunately however, it is also a type of food that most people, including myself associate with warming up to on an extremely cold evening. It has been unbearably hot for the past week in Chicago. For some odd reason [though secretly, I am thanking Mother Nature], we have been gifted with a cold front that started earlier this week. The temperature has consistently been in the 60s, and I found it absolutely wondering to be able to bike my 2.5 mile commute to work without sweating like a pig afterwards.

As a child [and up to this day still], my mother used to always make for the three of us a breakfast dish that bears a strong resemblance to chicken noodle soup. It is a Hong Kong dish, and even though my parents are both from Guangzhou, China, she made this for us often. To me, it was absolutely delicious and consisted of only five simple ingredients: tomatoes, pasta, chicken broth [my mother often used can], spam, and egg.

She always brought the chicken broth [sometimes using a day’s left over chicken soup] to a boil before adding in the tomatoes to simmer. Even though I found myself avoiding actually eating the tomatoes once everything was cooked, I loved the flavor that it brought in. After the tomato the spam was added in to warm up and at the very end she would crack in an egg and swirl it around once she had taken the broth off the heat. The cooked pasta [in which you can use any shape including spaghetti though I personally prefer rigatoni] would then go into all of that liquid goodness. Occasionally, my mother would add in some shitake mushroom, baby bok choy, and other various leafy green vegetables. Most of the time however, my mother kept it all simple.

I have to admit however, that sometimes, despite my Asian roots, I really just prefer something a bit more American. And so even though I may have tantalized you all with visions of my mother’s noodles in chicken broth, I am only going to present you with my own little version of classic chicken noodle soup. In the near future however, I may just add in the recipe [mainly just more specific measurements] for my mother’s own version.

Her version took extremely little time, and for most people, my own version probably doesn’t exactly require a full hour of intense hovering over the stove. I’m the type of person however who is continuously cautious and slightly afraid that I may have made some minor mistake. So for me, this version of chicken noodle soup required intense hovering.

Chicken Noodle Soup

For the chicken broth portion, you could choose to either use canned or homemade. I prefer Better than Bouillon which comes in a little jar in nearly all supermarkets. Also, the rotisserie chicken need not be bought only for this recipe, I had actually purchased mine for the sole purpose of eating for dinner with my sister but found that between the two of us we could only finish off all of the dark meat. So we simply saved the rest of it in the fridge and dumped the whole thing [juices and all – which are actually important!] into the pot. We even saved the meat that we hadn’t finished off for the soup to make sandwiches for lunch the next day. Oh how resourceful one gets once they find themselves having to purchase their own groceries on a limited budget.


1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrots

½ medium onion diced

1 cooked rotisserie chicken [does not necessarily have to be the whole thing]

6 cups chicken broth

7 cups water

½ bag of egg noodles [I promise to be more precise once I see my bag of noodles again]

1 tablespoon butter

A drizzle of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Melt the butter in a pot big enough to make the soup in. Once it is all melted and hot, pour in all of the vegetables. Add in a drizzle of olive oil and cook until the vegetables seem to be soft around the edges and the onions seem to be caramelized slightly around the edges – about 5-6 minutes. Add in salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the noodles once it is boiled but only cook it for about 4-5 minutes as it can do the rest of the cooking in the soup.

Add in all of the water and chicken broth and bring to a boil. [If you are using either bouillon cubes or the Better than Bouillon, wait until the water has all boiled before adding. I once made the mistake of not waiting and I later found remains of unmelted-ness in it… Not the most appetizing thing in the world.]

Add in the rotisserie chicken and bring to a simmer. Remember to scrape in all of the juices and skin, let it remain in the broth for at least 15 minutes.

Take out the chicken and add in the noodles. At this point, let the broth simmer for another 10 minutes and salt and pepper to taste while all of this is happening.

Remove from heat and serve.