Smitten Kitchen Chicken Soup

Oh. My. God.

Yield: 5 quarts, or about 10 to 12 meal-sized servings

2 medium-large yellow onions, unpeeled, halved or 1 large onion plus 1 large leek, cleaned and cut lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed a little
1 large carrot
1 large parnsip (optional)
1 celery rib
4 quarts water
4 pounds chicken bones (from about two carcasses leftover from a roast or rotisserie) or a combination of fresh chicken wings (my first choice), backs, necks or feet
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf

To Finish
3 bone-in skin-on chicken breast halves
2 large carrots, peeled and diced or 1 large carrot and 1 large parsnip, diced
1 large leek, trimmed and sliced into 1/2-inch segments
1 to 2 celery ribs, chopped or diced
9 ounces thin egg noodles or soup noodles of your choice
2 tablespoons finely-chopped flat-leaf parsley

Make the broth:
Combine all ingredients in a large (6 to 8 quart) stock pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a gentle simmer, skim any unpleasant looking foam (“skim the scum” is kitchen parlance for this step, but I’m trying to be polite) and cover with a lid. Simmer for 2 1/2 hours. 

Cook the chicken:
Add whole chicken breasts to simmering broth. Simmer for 20 minutes, until they’re cooked through, then strain broth [for stovetop method] or simply remove cooked chicken breasts and set them aside. Taste broth, and adjust seasoning if needed. 

Finish the soup:
Add diced vegetables to simmering broth on stove and cook for 5 minutes, until firm-tender. Add soup noodles and cook according to package instructions, usually 6 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, once chicken breasts are cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones and shred or chop into small chunks. Return chicken to soup and simmer for 2 minutes, until heated through. Finish with parsley and serve to some very lucky people. 


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