One of the first recipes I posted way back in the day was for something I called “Sick Day Soup” – basically just a half-assed semi-homemade chicken noodle soup that I made for Kendrick whenever he was feeling bad. In keeping with most (all?) of the recipes I posted back then, it was full of shortcuts (using store-bought broth, pre-shredded chicken, whatever), and while I continue to think those shortcuts make sense for everyday cooking, sometimes – like when a person you care about is sick – it’s nice to level it up and make something really warming and healing and special.
Enter: My new and improved Sick Day Soup. It takes awhile to make, but actually requires very little in the way of effort – most of it’s just letting the ingredients cook themselves down on the stovetop while your home fills with wonderful smells. And the results? Are spectacular, and 100% worth the time. (I delivered a big jar of this stuff to my sick friend, and then polished off the rest – literally all of the rest – myself.)
Related: Super old-school video of me and Allure Magazine telling you how to look good when you feel bad
What You Need:
For the broth
- 1 organic chicken (with skin), cut into pieces
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut in half
- 3-4 carrots, cut into big pieces
- 3-4 of celery, cut into big pieces
- A couple of bay leaves (I didn’t have any this time, so I left them out)
- About a tablespoon of peppercorns
- A big handful of fresh parsley
- Sea salt
For the soup
- 3-4 carrots, small diced
- 1 bunch leeks, white and light green parts only, halved and thinly sliced into half-moons
- Egg noodles (go for the best quality you can find)
- More sea salt
Before a couple of hours on the stove
After a couple of hours on the stove
What You Do:
- Put all of the broth ingredients into a large soup pot. Cover with cold water (make sure there’s at least an inch of water above the ingredients). Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down heat, remove cover, and cook on medium-low for a couple of hours.
- Using tongs, remove chicken from pot and place in large bowl.
- Strain remaining ingredients out of broth with a fine sieve (discard the ingredients, unless you want to use them for something else).
- Place broth and chicken in refrigerator and let chill a few hours.
- Skim the fat off of the top of the broth, reserving a few tablespoons.
- Pull the meat off of the chicken, shredding into bite-sized bits and discarding bones, skin, and anything else you don’t want in your soup.
- Reheat the soup over medium-high heat.
- Meanwhile, heat a couple of tablespoons of the fat in a medium pot until melted, then add leeks, carrots, and a big pinch of salt. Cook 5 minutes or so, stirring constantly, until softened (but not entirely; they’ll finish cooking in the next step).
- Throw the egg noodles, shredded chicken, carrots and leeks into the soup and cook until the noodles are al dente (check package directions). Season to taste; toss in a little chopped parsley towards the end if you like.
Deliver the necessary amount to sick friend(s). Conusume what remains in copious quantities, perhaps with some buttered toast on the side.