The secret to this high-comfort classic is starting from scratch with a whole chicken, which gives the soup an incomparable flavour, body and soul. Add sweet, aromatic vegetables, silky noodles and flat-leaf parsley (non-negotiable), for the chicken noodle soup of your dreams.
1 tbsp olive oil or butter (use olive oil for dairy-free)
1 leek, finely sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 small celery stalks, finely sliced
200g dried thin egg noodles or vermicelli (use vermicelli for gluten-free)
3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1.6kg whole chicken, rinsed
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and roughly chopped
1 brown onion, unpeeled, quartered
2 large celery stalks, roughly chopped
8 flat-leaf parsley stalks,
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp sea salt
2 bay leaves
1. To make the stock, place the chicken in a large soup pot, and add cold water to just cover. Bring to the boil, skimming off any froth with a large spoon. Reduce to a gentle simmer, skimming as necessary for 10 minutes.
2. Add the carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, parsley stalks, peppercorns, salt and bay leaves. Simmer gently, partly covered, for 45 minutes, without allowing it to boil.
3. Remove the chicken from the broth and allow to cool enough to handle. Cut the legs, wings and breasts away from the carcass and set aside. Return the carcass to the broth and simmer for a further 1 hour, uncovered, for extra flavour.
4. Strain the broth and discard the bones and vegetables (they have given their all). Heat the oil or butter in the soup pot and add the fresh vegetables to the soup – leek, carrot and celery – tossing well, for 2 minutes. Return the hot broth to the pot, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the carrot is tender.
5. Crush the noodles in your hands, add to the pot and cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Shred the reserved chicken meat (you can save some for chicken sandwiches), add to the soup and gently reheat for 3 minutes.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir in the chopped parsley leaves and ladle into warmed soup bowls to serve.
Tip: Don't peel the onion for the stock– the brown skins will give it a nice golden colour.