Chicken (Sort of) Noodle Soup
By Catherine Newman
Makes: 6 servings
Total carbohydrates: 6 grams per serving
Hands-on Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
This recipe is designed around the chicken-eating habits of your household: if you love rotisserie chicken, but favor one kind of meat over the other, then just enjoy your favorite parts, and make soup with the rest of it! Or feel free to devote the whole chicken to the soup—just pull off your favorite meat and dice it, then add it back at the end once the soup is cooked. Please note that you don’t have to use all of the noodle-like ingredients (of course). The zucchini strands are tender; the mushrooms are chewy; the cabbage is strand-like and toothsome – but omit any that you don’t like or don’t have.
1 rotisserie chicken
1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks
1 carrot, peeled or scrubbed and cut into thick coins
2 celery stalks, sliced, plus some of the leaves from inside the bunch
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt)
1 zucchini, zoodled, or cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
¼ small head of green cabbage, cut into fine slivers (around 2 cups)
6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in boiling water while you make the broth, then slivered (I imagine you could use fresh shiitake mushrooms, but I have never tried this)
Note: If you don’t want to start with rotisserie chicken, then start with 2 pounds of raw chicken pieces and make the soup as directed, simmering for a total of 3 hours instead of 2. Or, if you don’t want to make your own broth at all, start with 6 cups of canned or boxed chicken broth and go straight to step 4 (add some cooked chicken too, if you like).
Eat whatever you want to eat from the rotisserie chicken, putting any bones aside as they accumulate. Put all the bones, remaining chicken, and/or carcass in a large pot with the onion, carrot, celery, and salt. Add enough cold water to cover it and bring to a boil over high heat.
Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer the soup gently for 2 hours, adding water as needed to keep the chicken submerged. If any froth or scum accumulates around the edge of the pot, you can skim this off with a wide spoon.
Strain through a sieve into a clean pot (or into a large bowl and then back into the pot you were using) and season with more salt until it tastes salty and good and soup-like; this might be more salt than you would have guessed. Add whatever of the vegetables and chicken meat you want back to the pot. (People always describe these as “spent” after their long cooking, but I confess to pulling all the chicken off the bones and adding it with all the vegetables back into the soup.)
Bring the soup back to a boil over high heat then add the zucchini, cabbage, and mushrooms (and the mushroom soaking liquid, if mushrooms are your favorite) and cook just until the vegetables are tender, around 10 – 15 minutes. Taste the soup for salt, add a big grinding of black pepper, and serve.
Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Her book "How to Be A Person" was published in 2020. She also helped develop Sprout, a WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as Seasoned, their senior version. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health, happiness, and real food at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.
[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]