Simple Weeknight Chicken Soup
So, I’m back, well sort of. I’ve realized during this brief hiatus that I really missed my blog and I really missed all of you. This blog is a part of me and a part of me that I don’t want to quit or give up on just yet. I’m a person who loves to share with people, sharing just makes me happy, so I’m going to keep sharing with you all my recipes as well as my journey. There are a lot of changes going on in my life right now, some changes that are amazing and others that are difficult, so I don’t know the frequency of how often I will post, it may just be two times a month or it could be more, I’m just going to play it day by day.
I also wanted to also say a huge THANK YOU to you all. I was amazed by all of your supportive comments, emails and for those of you that came up to me in person and shared what you loved about the blog. I didn’t realize how many wonderful and loyal readers I had, and I want to thank you all for reaching out these past few weeks. Each one of your comments and emails really touched my heart, and made me realize that I truly have a real audience of readers who were going through the same life struggles as me. We’re all on this journey of life together, and we’re here to support and love one another and I truly feel supported and loved by you all, so THANK YOU! I will slowly share my journey with you all over time, but for now, I’m just wanted to share with you all this simple and easy weeknight chicken soup that has quickly become a family favorite.
I’ve been making lots of soup lately. When my life is in disarray, making soup calms, grounds and comforts me. There’s just something so comforting about sipping a warm bowl of soup on a cool winters night, and nothing says comfort like chicken noodle soup right? Honestly, I’ve never been a huge fan of chicken noodle soup as the noodles always seem to get soggy. I’ve always prefered chicken soup with either rice, barley or orzo, and my go-to chicken soup for the past few years has been Barefoot’s Italian wedding soup. We love that soup, but it’s a bit labor intensive, so I don’t make it up as often as I should. This chicken soup is also from Barefoot, but it’s more of a simple weeknight soup, as it can be made in under 30 minutes, if the chicken is pre-roasted, if not, it still can be made up pretty quick, as you can cut up the veggies and such while the chicken is roasting up in the oven. I love that the soup has all white meat chicken in it, as I’m not a fan of dark meat. I substituted the egg noodles (as I’m not a fan) for my favorite small pasta, Fregola Sarda. The Fegola Sarda pasta (for those of you that are local, Paradise Foods has this brand) has a firmer and chewier texture than a normal pasta. I also added a bit more stock than the original recipe called for, because we love the soothing comfort of chicken stock, especially if there is a sore throat in the house. I love serving this soup up with either a traditional popover or my rosemary and sea salt popovers. The popovers are perfect for dipping into the soup.
simple weeknight chicken soup:
recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style: Easy Ideas and Recipes That Make Everyone Feel Like Family Barefoot Contessa Family Style
- 2 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2-3 stalks celery, medium-diced
- 3 medium-sized carrots, medium-diced
- 1 small yellow onion, medium dice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- optional -4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 10 cups (80 ounces) chicken stock, or more if needed – if you have homemade stock, great! I did not, so I used 2.5 32 oz boxes of organic chicken stock.
- 1 cup small pasta such as Fregola Sarda, tubetini, stars, orzo or 2 cups wide-egg noodles – I used Fregola Sarda pasta as I wanted a chewier and firmer pasta, and I’m not a big fan of using egg noodles as they tend to get soggy. For those of you that are local, Paradise Foods carries this pasta.
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast the chicken breasts for 35 to 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. The breasts I get locally are always huge, so they usually take between 45-60 minutes. I always use my meat thermometer here and take the chicken out when it reaches an internal temperature of 165º. Note: For time efficiency, the chicken can be roasted and shredded up ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until needed.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, shred the chicken meat, and set aside. I usually do this step when my broth is simmering, see below.
While the chicken is cooking, you can prep all of the ingredients. Wash and chop up the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, parsley and measure out your cup of pasta. Be casual when chopping up your veggies, I just did a medium dice. They don’t have to be tiny or perfectly uniform in size. That’s what I love about making soup, nothing has to be perfect, it’s sort of like life, right?
When the chicken is finished cooking, place a large soup pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme, bay leaf and a hefty pinch of sea salt. Cook and stir for about 5-6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened, but not browned.
Add in the 10 cups of chicken stock and bring the soup to a simmer. I turn up the heat to medium-high here. Just keep an eye on the soup and watch for bubbles start to break to the surface right before a full-boil.
When the stock comes to simmer/boil, add in the 1-cup pasta and cook uncovered for 6 to 8 minutes for orzo or standard white pasta, and 10 minutes for the fregola pasta or egg noodles. I just set my timer for 10 minutes and the soup is perfect every time. You only want to cook the pasta till its tender, as the pasta will absorb the broth and continue to get tender as it sits in the soup.
For time efficiency, I usually shred up my chicken while the pasta and vegetables are cooking away.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Yep, that’s all there is to it. I told you this was an easy soup to make. If you feel like you need to add a bit more stock because you had huge chicken breasts, or you just like more stock in your soup, then feel free to add more at this point.
Feel free to add in some fresh spinach at the end along with the chicken and parsley. It helps boost up the nutritional value of the soup.
This truly is an easy weeknight chicken soup that the whole family will love, and it’s the perfect soup to deliver to a friend or loved one during the cold and flu season! I hope that this soup becomes a family favorite in your house!