Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

chickensoup2I love soups, stews, chilies – one pot wonders that will fill you up and feed you for days! Often when I’ve been writing about food, having a food photoshoot for a book or magazine or discussing menus with clients, the last thing I want to do is go home and cook. Yet, cooking is my therapy too – being a foodie is a tangled web indeed.

My chicken noodle soup is simple. I think it is delicious (toot toot goes my own horn) and it cooks up fast and will feed pharaoh’s army – a highly desirable trait for a dish in my family! I also like that this recipe is basic enough to appeal to year round flavors. Of course, during the winter, I crave this warm soup with some leafy kale and carrots, but I’ve found that basil or lemon thyme are delightful additions in the summertime as are sage and rosemary in the fall and chervil in the spring.

 There are two ways to make this soup – neither of which are right or wrong. There is the homemade version where you stew a hen, make your own stock, cut the kale and herbs from your garden etc etc etc and then there’s the quick and easy version – the latter I find myself preparing more often than the former! PTL (Praise The Lord for those not brought up in the Bible Belt) for store bought rotisserie chickens!

Farmer’s Note: This “recipe” is more of a read through, thus you can cook to your liking. Enjoy y’all!

The Farmer's Chicken Noodle Soup

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 stick butter
1 rotisserie chicken (the flavor really doesn’t matter)
1/2 a large Vidalia or red onion, chopped
3-4 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 cups carrots, cut into rounds
2 quarts chicken stock
3 cups egg noodles
4 cups of kale (shredded, torn or julienned)
1/2 cup fresh parsley roughly chopped
Tablespoon of Nature’s Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Like my Mimi, just about any dish I make starts with browning onions. Onions are marvelous but divine when browned. A little oil for temperature and butter for flavor, I brown the onions and season them well. Salt and pepper to your liking and add some Nature Seasoning too.

Once the onions are brown, add the garlic and celery. Also like Mimi did, I like using lots of celery – it is like parsley to me, for the flavor is often forgotten since they’re used as garnishes and a healthy addition to buffalo wing platters.

Once the garlic and parsley are softened I add the stock. Make or buy it depending on your time but a good two quarts is plenty. You can always add water and bullion to reduce or increase the stock amount. I like a little broth with my soup so you may want to increase the stock/liquid if you prefer more of a soupy soup!

Pull the chicken from the bone and add to the stock, onions, celery and garlic. Bring the soup to a gentle boil. Add the carrots. I don’t like the carrots to be too mushy, so I add them toward the end – even at the end. A bit of crunch is just fine!

Add the egg noodles then the kale. The noodles cook fast and the kale wilts just about immediately. Season further to taste and serve hot!


James T. Farmer III was born and raised in Georgia, where he continues to live and work as a landscape designer. He shares his love of food, flowers and photography on his blog All Things Farmer.