Old-fashioned chicken noodle soup

    2 hours

    Much of this soup's appeal is in its simplicity. Packed with fresh flavours, mixing pasta with bites of chicken and a bounty of just-tender vegetables, it is easy to see why this soup is traditionally eaten as a restorative. Serve it as a starter and enjoy the extra chicken in sandwiches the next day.

    65 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 125 g (4 1/2 oz) spaghetti or linguine, broken into 5 cm (2 in) pieces
    • 1 carrot, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
    • 1 celery stick, thinly sliced
    • 55 g (2 oz) small broccoli florets
    • 1 can sweetcorn in water, about 200 g, drained
    • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
    • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
    • Chicken broth
    • 1 chicken, about 1.35 kg (3 lb), skinned and jointed, or 4 chicken quarters, skinned
    • 2 onions, halved, the inner layer of skin left on
    • 3 carrots, chopped
    • 3 celery sticks, chopped
    • 1 bouquet garni
    • 4 black peppercorns
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:45min  ›  Cook:1hr15min  ›  Ready in:2hr 

    1. First make the broth. Put the chicken joints in a large, heavy-based stockpot or saucepan. Add the onions, carrots and celery, then pour in about 2 litres (3 1/2 pints) cold water to cover the ingredients. Bring to the boil, skimming the surface constantly until all grey scum is removed.
    2. Reduce the heat to low immediately the liquid boils. Add the bouquet garni, peppercorns and 1 tsp salt. Partially cover the pan and simmer for 1 hour, skimming as necessary. Test the chicken joints after 30–40 minutes; remove them as soon as the juices run clear when the joints are pierced with the point of a knife. Set aside.
    3. Line a large colander or sieve with dampened muslin and place it over a large heatproof bowl, then strain the broth through this. Discard the vegetables and flavouring ingredients. Return 1.5 litres (2 3/4 pints) of broth to the rinsed-out pan. Skim off any excess fat on the surface of the broth. Cool and freeze the leftover broth to use as a chicken stock in other recipes.
    4. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard all the bones. Cut 225 g (8 oz) meat into bite-sized pieces for use in the soup. Reserve the remaining chicken for sandwiches or other recipes.
    5. Bring the broth to the boil, then reduce the heat so the broth is simmering. Add the spaghetti or linguine and the carrot, and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the celery, broccoli and sweetcorn, and continue cooking for about 5 minutes or until the pasta and all the vegetables are just tender.
    6. Stir in the chicken with seasoning to taste and heat through. Sprinkle in the parsley and thyme, and serve the soup at once.

    Some more ideas

    Add 450 g (1 lb) of the cooked chicken to the soup if you are serving it as a light lunch or supper rather than a starter. * Replace the chicken with two 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) turkey drumsticks. * Increase the fibre content by using wholewheat instead of white spaghetti. Alternatively, add 1 can butter beans, about 400 g, drained and rinsed. Stir in the beans with the chicken and just heat through. * Vary the vegetables to suit the season – small cauliflower florets, finely diced celeriac, sliced mushrooms or diced green, red and yellow peppers are all ideal. * Thicker fettuccine or tagliatelle, or even small pasta shapes, can be used instead of the spaghetti or linguine.

    Plus points

    Unlike the majority of vegetables, which are most nutritious when eaten raw, carrots are a better source of beta-carotene when they are cooked. Cooking breaks down their cell membranes, making it easier for the body to convert the beta-carotene they contain into vitamin A. * Both the dark and white chicken meat can be added to the soup. The dark meat contains twice as much iron and zinc as the light meat. * Chicken is an excellent source of protein and it provides many of the B vitamins, particularly B1 and niacin.

    Each serving provides

    A, B1, B6, E, niacin * C, folate, iron * zinc

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    Reviews in English (1)


    Delish! Simple soup to make, I love making my own stocks anyway. I had just run out of black peppercorns so used tropical mix ones instead when making the stock. I also added a finely diced chilli to the soup when cooking and there was a nice kick to it. Good for poorly people recovering from colds too!  -  25 Jan 2011