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Chicken Noodle Soup

2 T butter
4 chicken breast, dried and cut into pieces
12 cups chicken stock
4 celery stalks, sliced
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, diced
½ tsp, or more, salt
Ground black pepper to taste
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp dried parsley (if using fresh, use 2 T chopped and add at very end, just a minute before serving.)
1 tbsp Herbs de Provence (can substitute Italian herbs)
1 ½ cups, or more, dry pasta (this measurement is for farfalle, fusilli or rotini shape and size. If using elbow macaroni, use about 1 cup.)

The secret to this recipe is to brown the chicken very quickly and deeply, leaving a nice caramelization on the bottom of the pan. When you add the stock, this carmelization becomes part of the broth and makes it very yummy. In order for this to succeed, you MUST have dry chicken. So, grab your roll of paper towels and your bleach spray to clean up afterwards.

In large dutch oven or pot (if you have a Le Creuset or any other type of porcelain enamel cast iron, this is ideal) melt the butter quickly over medium heat. Be careful not to let it brown yet or it will taste burned. Turn the heat up to high and add your chicken pieces. Allow chicken to brown, stirring occasionally, but not too much. Letting the chicken sit in the same spot for a minute or two will allow that deep caramelization to form. If you have lots of juices in the bottom of the pan, hold off stirring for a minute or two till they evaporate and the chicken begins to brown.

Add stock, whisking to remove caramelization and incorporate into broth. Add celery, carrots, onion and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until veggies are nearly done (15 minutes or so). Add remaining ingredients and simmer for another 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. As soon as pasta is cooked through, taste for seasoning and serve.