Jewish Penicillin: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup


Stefan got a pretty bad cold last week, which was unfortunate because he’s a University professor and he has a pretty packed week full of research and teaching. He’s had a few sleepless nights and has been pretty much subsisting off of Dayquil and Nyquil. There is only one suitable meal for someone in his situation, so at his request I cooked up some “Jewish Penicillin” or chicken noodle soup.

Not only is chicken soup great for those cold autumn nights, it also may have anti-inflammatory properties that help you fight through the nasty symptoms of a cold. In addition, chicken soup made from scratch may have digestive benefits. Even though the science may still be inconclusive, there is another reason why chicken soup is the go-to food when you’re feeling down: it’s just plain good. It’s hearty, if it’s made right it (like my recipe) it can be healthy, and it makes any kitchen smell like home.

Growing up in a Jewish family, the┬ábasic chicken soup from scratch recipe was a staple at every family get together and the hero of every sick day. I know that most of my readers may already know how to make basic chicken soup, but for those of you who don’t, here’s my recipe:

What you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds of chicken thighs with skin and bones
  • water
  • 1 package of egg noodles
  • 1/2 pound of baby carrots
  • 1/3 pound of celery
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Get out a big soup pot and fill 2/3 of the way with water. Add salt to taste. Bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the chicken (make sure it’s fresh or thawed), skin, bones and all. Leave at a medium boil for 1 hour.

After an hour, remove the chicken and set it aside. Skim any extra foam or fat from the top of the broth.

Cut the baby carrots in halves and chop the celery. Peel the onion and chop it in half. Add all the veggies to the broth. Press the garlic and add that in, too. Let simmer for 1 hour. (After half an hour, taste the broth and add extra salt or pepper as you see fit).

Once the chicken has cooled, remove the skins and bones and throw them away. Use your fingers to shred the chicken and put the shredded chicken back into the pot with your veggies and broth.

Get a smaller pot and add 2-4 quarts of water plus salt to taste. Bring the second pot to a boil and then add the egg noodles. Cook for 8 minutes and then strain the noodles and put them on the side. I cook the noodles separately because if you put them into the pot with the soup, they tend to get mushy at some point during the meal. This way, you have perfectly al dente noodles every time. If you have left overs, store the noodles separately as well.

Add the noodles to your serving bowls and ladle the soup into the bowls. Simple, easy, and perfect.

It smells like home

It smells like home