We all love homemade soup. There’s no written rule that we can’t take advantage of a few shortcuts and still claim it to be homemade. The difference is in the vegetables and herbs. As long as they are fresh, the flavor and textures will shine through. Then …go ahead and use that leftover rotisserie chicken and canned chicken broth. It’s all good.
As in any recipe or whenever cooking, for that matter, it’s good to have it all prepped in advance …just takes some of the pressure off. With this one though, you really can prep as you go. After all, this is supposed to be quick and easy, right?
Give the carrots and celery a head start while you prepare the leeks and parsley. If you have some celery leaves hangin’ out with the stalks, chop them up and add them to the mix. Never turn down the chance for more texture and flavor. And don’t make the carrot slices too thick since they won’t have that much time to cook through. Of course, if you want them to have some “bite” to them …go ahead and be bold. Make those carrot slices a bit more chunky.
I know I’ve mentioned it before but it’s worth repeating. Make sure you soak your leeks in cold water before using them. They sometimes have so much sandy grit hiding between the layers …a few minutes in a cold water bath will loosen it all up for you. Then just give them a good rinse under the faucet. Even though it may seem like more work, it’s worth the extra step. Leeks are generally sweeter and milder than onions …the perfect addition to your homemade goodness.
Once the veggies and parsley are on their way to achieving just the right texture, the broth and chopped dill are added to the mix. And, of course, if you have homemade chicken broth or stock handy …feel free to use that! But, really you don’t need to. This soup is so full of flavor on its own that you may want to save the homemade stuff for another time. Especially if your supply of “liquid gold” is limited.
Bring that to a boil, lower the heat a bit and add the noodles. Speaking of noodles …I like to use the dried egg pasta that is packaged in little nests so that they can easily be broken into small pieces before adding them to the pot. See how quickly this is all coming together? And wait til you get a whiff of the aroma that’s happenin’ in your kitchen!
Since the chicken is completely cooked, hold off on adding that to the soup until just before serving. Just give it a minute or two to be sure it is heated through. That way you’ll avoid overcooking and toughening it. And there you have it. In just a little more than a half-hour, you have a big old pot of hearty wholesome homemade chicken noodle soup! Just in time to offer some to that gang of yours as they come in from playing in the snow.
So, I’m here to testify that this is delicious and wonderful …just as it is. But wait, there’s a way to take it to another level. For those who are adventurous.
Before serving, try adding some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon zest & ground nutmeg to each bowl of goodness. Not too much …just a hint. You may want to add just the cheese or maybe not the nutmeg. It’s all about making it just right for you and each of your loved ones.
the best quick & easy chicken noodle soup
Short on time? This one is big on flavor in less than an hour!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 cups carrots, sliced at 1/4" (about 14 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups celery, sliced at 1/4" (about 5.5 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large leek, sliced, white and light green part only (about 2 cups / 6.5 ounces)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 46-ounce cans chicken broth (or homemade broth / stock)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- 4 ounces tagliatelle or fettuccine dried eggs pasta, broken into small pieces
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast from rotisserie chicken (about 12 ounces)
- freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving (optional but highly recommended)
- freshly grated lemon zest, for serving (optional but highly recommended)
- pinch of ground nutmeg, for serving (optional but highly recommended)
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large stockpot or dutch oven with at least 5-quart capacity over medium heat. Add the sliced carrots and celery along with the salt & pepper. Cover and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the sliced leeks and chopped parsley. Stir to combine. Cover and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
Remove the cover and increase the heat to medium-high. Add the chicken broth along with the chopped dill. Mix well. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium and add pasta. Simmer until pasta is cooked to al dente, according to package directions, for about 10 minutes.
Add shredded chicken breast, stir to combine and continue simmering until just heated through for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
Optional: Top off each serving with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon zest and/or ground nutmeg.