Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

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This time of year many of us are fighting winter colds and flu.  Studies show that chicken soup really is good for a cold even if scientists don’t know why.  I admit, in the past, I would open up a can of chicken noodle soup and feel a little less guilty if it was organic.  As a health coach focusing on raising a healthy family, I decided to make a Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup (aka Jewish Penicillin) recipe that has been around for over 100 years instead.  It is adapted from Mrs. Cooper’s (the Rabbi’s wife) recipe in the B’nai Jacob Synagogue Sisterhood Cookbook and has been in my family forever.

Take a closer look at canned soup labels and you will want to make your own too.  Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup label lists over 28 ingredients including things that don’t even remotely sound like food such as monosodium glutamate and soy protein isolate.  Wolfgang Puck’s Organic Soup label was a little better but still contained sugar,dehydrated everything and doesn’t have much flavor.

Step 1

No crates, no cages

Animals live their lives with space to move around and stretch their legs.

Step 2

Enriched environment

Animals are provided with enrichments that encourage behavior that’s natural to them — like a bale of straw for chickens to peck at, a bowling ball for pigs to shove around, or a sturdy object for cattle to rub against

Step 3

Enhanced outdoor access

Pigs, chickens and turkeys might live in buildings but they all — yes, each and every one of them — have access to outdoor areas.

Step 4

Pasture centered

When living outdoors, chickens and turkeys get to forage, pigs get to wallow and cattle get to roam.

Step 5

Animal centered; all physical altercations prohibited

The well-being of the animals is the primary focus; efficiency and economy are secondary.

Step 5+

Animal centered; entire life on same farm

Animals raised to Step 5+ standards must be born and live their entire lives on one farm.

I like the idea of using the best possible ingredients that would result in the soup most like my Mother’s, Aunt’s and Grandmother’s soup before me.  In our modern world, I often buy fresh meat from our local farmers and Whole Foods.  Their Animal Welfare Standards, are useful for making an informed decision on what kinds of meat to buy.  I reach for the highest “Step” available because I believe in humane treatment of animals even if we are going to eat them.  Also, animals raised as intended have the most nutrients and flavor.   If the highest step is too expensive for you, that’s ok.  It’s all about tradeoffs, so pick the one that best fits your budget and your beliefs.  Even Step 1 is much better than your standard, factory raised meat.

Fresh organic vegetables.

Fresh organic vegetables.


1 Chicken cut into parts  – (The butcher did this for me)

Few sprigs of parsley

Few sprigs of dill

4 qt. Water

1 whole onion

6 Carrots cut into cubes

6 Celery stalks w/ tops cut into pieces

1 Sweet potato cut into large chunks

1 Bay leaf

1 T salt

Pepper to taste

Pinch of saffron

1 package of egg noodles or 1 ½ cups of brown rice (optional)

Place chicken and cold water into a large pot and bring to boil.  Cook for about 1 hour.

Chicken cooking for 1 hour.

Chicken cooking for 1 hour.

Add onions, celery, carrots, sweet potato, salt, saffron, parsley, dill and bay leaf.  Cook for another 1 ½ hours, until the chicken and vegetables are very tender.

Add all of the other ingredients and cook until tender.

Add all of the other ingredients and cook until tender.

Cook noodles or rice depending on your preference in a separate pot and set aside.

Egg noodles made with eggs from pastured chickens.

Egg noodles made with eggs from pastured chickens.

Remove the chicken and tear or cut the meat into pieces.  Strain the soup but keep some carrots or any of the vegetables you would like to add back in.  Your broth will be clear and golden. Add chicken, noodles and some of the fresh herbs for garnish.

This recipe takes a while to cook but is so easy and delicious.  It may seem extravagant to use organic produce and meat from humanely treated animals but that is probably most like the ingredients our grandmother’s would have used.  You should have plenty left over to freeze.  Before defrosting, skim any fat that forms on the top.








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