The best chicken noodle soup recipe south of Hyperborea

by cheri block

This winter I have made so much chicken noodle soup that local chicken farmers have been asking for my endorsement.

Driving down to the Central Coast of California, I speed through the rich farmlands of Steinbeck country. Along Highway 101, celery farmers have bought advertising space on large bill boards that proudly announces:  “Cheri buys our celery!”

Same for the onion folks, the carrot people, and….those who manufacture glass jars. They all want my business.

I’ve never told you this before, but I love to make chicken noodle soup. In fact, a large pot of broth simmers as I write.

Some of you might say it’s… well… a genetic thing. Others of you might speculate that since I live with a man who eats ice cream every night before bed, I’m a health crusader.

A few of you who are sequestered in Carmelite or Orthodox monasteries might nod, “She has taken that Zen thing too seriously and is practicing charity.”

The medicinal value of chicken noodle soup is well documented. From rudimentary pictures (chicken scratchings, really)  of chickens found on clay tablets in the Levant (1800 BCE) to the steaming tureens etched in cave paintings in Jerusalem (500 BCE), chicken soup has historic provenance, staving off colds and influenza, plague and famine, boredom and cynicism. Rumor has it that all of William the Conqueror’s steeds, carried across the English Channel, had water bags filled with chicken soup, not English tea. *

The best recipe for chicken noodle soup comes generously from my friend Mike, who writes,

“This is an old family recipe and tradition from my mother. I am pretty sure it was never before written down as my mother considered it to be too simple to require a script. My family of four frequently made this together as the children were able to participate in the noodle making since about age two and loved consuming the result. It was a great way to introduce them to the kitchen. The aroma filled the house and leftovers never lasted long.”

Mike’s Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

1 chicken, whole

1 stalk celery, cut into 3 pieces

1 carrot, peeled, cut into 3 pieces

1 onion, peeled, quartered

10 peppercorns

handful of parsley stems (optional)

1 tsp. salt

Remove giblets from the chicken (cook separately for a snack).Wash chicken thoroughly and put it in a large pot with water to almost cover. Add the rest of the ingredients. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 1 hour. Remove from heat, strain broth. Remove the meat from the bones and set aside. Discard the skin, return the bones to the pot with the broth and continue to simmer, for another hour at least. If you don’t do this, the broth will be much less rich tasting. (This, Cheri observes, may be the crucial part of the recipe.)

Eat the carrot ( I always save it for Lisa, Mike writes)

Strain the finished broth, clean the pot, and return the broth to the pot. Skim surface fat. Bring the broth to a boil. While it is heating, add 4 to 6 carrots and 3 to 4 stalks of celery, chopped into bite-sized pieces. Once boil is reached, turn down the heat to just simmer. Periodically skim foam from edges.

In a bowl, beat 3 eggs with a fork, add a little salt and a teaspoon or 2 of water.  Mix in flour until you can handle the dough and then cut into 4 equal size pieces. Roll dough very thin on a floured board, using flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll up the thinned dough and cut the noodles very thin ( a butcher knife works well). Immediately separate the noodles and transfer to a plate (spread them out so they don’t wind up stuck together).

Cut or tear the reserved chicken meat into bite-sized pieces and add it to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring the soup to a boil and gradually add noodles, stirring frequently. Simmer for 10 minutes. Taste again and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve.

*   *    *    *    *

If you don’t want to make homemade noodles, buy the little egg noodles or the bow-tie noodles. That’s what I do.

Lastly, share the soup. Make enough to bring to three older people (like Judge Blah), who need the sustenance.

Let me know if you try it and I will pass your thoughts on to Mike.

* This entire paragraph is bogus.

About Cheri

Writer, photograph, artist, mother, grandmother and wife.
This entry was posted in Education, Life and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The best chicken noodle soup recipe south of Hyperborea

  1. zeusiswatching says:

    I used to raise chickens — mostly New Hampshire Reds. The eggs were the big reason I was interested in poultry. The soup stock came after the egg laying stopped, or the roosters started to make too much noise.

    • Cheri says:

      I didn’t know this about you Zeus.
      My friend Donna raises a few chickens for the same reason. Until my cholesterol became an issue :(, I loved those eggs right out from under a chicken.

  2. jenny says:

    In March the wind blows down my door,
    And spills my soup upon the floor.
    It laps it up and roars for more.
    Blowing once,
    Blowing twice,
    Blowing chicken soup with rice.

    Slight variation from noodles, but Sendak got the chicken soup part.

    • Cheri says:

      Hi Jenny,
      Oh yes. I have Sendak’s little pocket library. My favorite is Pierre, I Don’t Care

      Sipping once,
      Sipping twice,
      Sipping chicken soup with rice ( or in this case, noodles)

  3. wkkortas says:

    I read this a little too quickly, and thought you were going to relate an anecdote about the time a gaggle of chickens scratched Oscar Levant…

  4. Cyberquill says:

    Why not launch a third blog for recipes only?

  5. Add a touch of lemon and some flour to thicken the broth, beat a few egs and bring the broth to a boil. Slowly pour the eggs in the boiling broth gently stirring all the while and, bingo, you have a hearty avgulo lemono soup.
    Cures any illnesses especialy hunger.
    In Montreal North, long ago, had a neighbour who raised chicken and had a rooster until, early one morning, we heard a gun shot. Never heard the rooster afterward.

  6. ana terán says:

    Every Thursday my daughters and sons (4), their significant others (3), my 2 grandchildren, 2 nieces and 1 nephew come for lunch. You must know lunch is our heavy meal of the day. Not next week, I’ll be away, but the following I will make your soup, but instead of noddles I’ll try a mexican version, tiny balls made of fresh masa (corn dough for tortillas), cheese and eggs, and will let you know how it turned out. Surely a hearty soup. Thank you,

    • Cheri says:

      The masas sound delicious, especially with the broth.

      What a lovely tradition to have, serving a Thursday supper to your family.
      I’ll look forward to your report.

      By the way, I wonder about your book?

    • Cheri says:


      Are you the Ana Teran (sorry no accent) who wrote The Poetess Counts to 100 and Bows Out

      If so, I will order in English.

      We need to discuss offline your inspiration behind the white horse in your poem.

      I am researching white horses right now ( along with Galileo) I’ll share with you privately just why I am doing this.

      Also, are your familiar with the poety Ricardo Sternberg from the University of Toronto?

    • Cheri says:


      Are you the Ana Teran (sorry no accent) who wrote The Poetess Counts to 100 and Bows Out?

      If so, I will order it in English.

      We need to discuss (offline) your inspiration behind the white horse in your poem.

      I am researching white horses right now ( along with Galileo) I’ll share with you privately just why I am doing this.

      Also, are your familiar with the poet Ricardo Sternberg from the University of Toronto?

  7. Brighid says:

    I have been lax in visiting here, being in the middle of marathon reading on my Kindle, and sewing quilts for the grands. What do I find but a great chicken soup recipe to smooth out all lifes little bumps. So yummy. Back to “Shadow of the Wind” by Mackey Hedges…. “What the hell, might as well, no place out here to dance.”

  8. Cheri says:

    Let me know how the soup turns out, Brighid.
    Staying away from the internet, reading, and sewing, feeding yourself yummy soup….all good.

    It’s those daily experiences that yield happiness.

  9. Pingback: chicken noodle soup recipe best

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