Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup! I love this as a filling, tasty and inexpensive dinner for those cold Winter evenings. Make a big pot so you have plenty of leftovers for lunch.
Isn’t homemade chicken noodle soup just so inviting!
You know you’re going to get covered in splatters, and that there’s simply no way of eating it elegantly. You will have broth dribbling down your chin and impossibly long noodles hanging out of your mouth.
But it doesn’t matter.
Everybody else is in the same boat, and it tastes just so flippin good that it’s worth being subjected to the toddler-esque napkin tucked in the neck of your t-shirt.
Just hold that bowl of chicken soup to your mouth and revel in the broth splatters and escaping noodles.
But don’t tell my kids any of that. Any excuse for not having to use table manners and my kids are straight in there.
Gracey loves eating burritos because she knows I’ll let her put her elbows on the table – meaning she gets rice all over the table instead of all over her lap.
Lewis on the other hand, loves it when we take cereal with us to his early morning swim class because I let him drink the leftover milk straight from the plastic bowl – rather than put the lid back on it and get milk all over the inside of my bag.
I often wonder if I'll still be telling them not to talk with their mouth full when they're in their twenties 😀
To make this soup, we start by frying chicken drumsticks until they're lovely and golden.
Why do we sear the meat?
This searing of the meat, known as the maillard reaction, enhances the flavour, giving the chicken that savoury, caramelized meatiness and aroma. It’s not about sealing the juices in (as is commonly believed), it’s about enhancing the flavour, and ensuring that flavour carries through to the rest of the dish.
Once the drumsticks are golden, we add mushrooms to the pan and brown them too. Then slice up a bunch of spring onions (scallions) and add them to the pan. Cover everything with chicken stock, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, remove the chicken drumsticks from the pan and place them on a chopping board. Use two forks to shred the meat off the bone, discarding any fatty bits, bones and skin. Add dried flat rice noodles to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, until they start to soften, then add in chopped kale and the shredded chicken. Cook for a further minute, until the kale wilts and the noodles are cooked through.
Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle on a little sesame oil, then divide between two bowls and serve topped with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
This slurpily delicious soup is based on a Nigel Slater recipe. It's one I've been cooking for about 4 or 5 years. A brilliant chicken soup recipe with the addition of noodles to make it more filling and tasty.
If you’ve never read his books or watched his recipe shows on TV then urge you to do so.
He’s got this calm and soothing voice that talks you through the recipes. By the time you’ve finished watching one of his shows you almost feel like you’ve just been listening to a relaxation tape.
What type of noodles to use:
I like to use flat rice noodles for this recipes as they cook really quickly in the broth, have a moreish slightly chewy texture, and they absorb flavours brilliantly.
However, you can most types of noodles - such as use ready-cooked vermicelli rice noodles, cooked fettucine pasta or dried egg noodles (thin, medium or thick). Soba, udon and ramen noodles are all great substitutes too.
Can I use chicken breast instead?
You can use chicken breast if you prefer (frying off the chicken breast at the stage where you would be frying the chicken drumsticks).
I like using the drumsticks, as you can get lots of flavour from frying the skin of the drumsticks. There's also more flavour in the meat and bones. Bone-in chicken thighs are also a great swap.
If you do replace with chicken breast, try to ensure you use a good quality chicken stock for the best flavour.
Want to make any swaps?
Try adding green beans, baby corn or broccoli to this soup. You could also swap out the kale for chard or savoy cabbage.
Chicken Noodle Soup Video:
Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe:
Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 chicken drumsticks
- 6 medium-sized brown mushrooms - such as chestnut or portabella, chopped
- 3 spring onions/scallions - chopped
- 1 ¼ litres (2 ¼ pints) chicken stock - fresh stock is best, but water + 3 stock cubes - or 3 tsp bouillon for gluten-free is fine
- 125 g (4.5 oz) dried flat rice noodles
- 2 large handfuls kale - chopped
- pinch salt and pepper
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp sesame seeds
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet and add the chicken legs. Cook for 5-6 minutes, turning regularly until lightly brown all over.1 tbsp vegetable oil, 4 chicken drumsticks
- Add the mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes until lightly browned then add the spring onions/scallions.6 medium-sized brown mushrooms, 3 spring onions/scallions
- Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 25 minutes.1 ¼ litres (2 ¼ pints) chicken stock
- Take out the chicken legs and pull off the flesh using a knife and fork.
- Add the noodles to the stock and cook for 2 minutes, then add the kale and chicken and cook for a further minute.125 g (4.5 oz) dried flat rice noodles, 2 large handfuls kale
- Season with salt and pepper and add the sesame oil. Divide between two bowls and serve, topped with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.pinch salt and pepper, ½ tsp sesame oil, ½ tsp sesame seeds
Can you freeze chicken noodle soup?The noodles can become mushy and will absorb too much water if you try to freeze them.
My recommendation is to make the soup without the noodles and kale (do add the shredded chicken in though), then cool, cover and freeze it. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then heat in a pan over a medium heat. When the liquid is piping hot, add in the noodles and cook for two minutes, then add the kale and cook for a further minute or two.
Can I make chicken noodle soup ahead?Yes, make the soup, then cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to two days. Reheat in a pan until piping hot. You may need to add a splash of hot water or chicken stock, as the noodles will absorb more liquid when they're stored in the fridge.
How do you make gluten free chicken noodle soup?Follow the recipe, but ensure your rice noodles are gluten free (rice noodles should technically be gluten free, but some brands add wheat flour, so it's a good idea to check your brand). Use gluten free stock too, and you're good to go 🙂 Nutritional Information is per serving.
Note: We've calculated approx 1 oz of meat from each chicken drumstick.
This post was first published in March 2015. Updated in December 2019 with new photos, tips and video.
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