Sick Day Soup: New and Improved

Me, sick.

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

best homemade chicken noodle soup for when you're sick

Before a couple of hours on the stove

best homemade chicken noodle soup for when you're sick

After a couple of hours on the stove

What You Do:

  1. 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.
  2. Using tongs, remove chicken from pot and place in large bowl.
  3. Strain remaining ingredients out of broth with a fine sieve (discard the ingredients, unless you want to use them for something else).
  4. Place broth and chicken in refrigerator and let chill a few hours.
  5. Skim the fat off of the top of the broth, reserving a few tablespoons.
  6. 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.
  7. Reheat the soup over medium-high heat.
  8. 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).
  9. 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.

best homemade chicken noodle soup for when you're sick

Deliver the necessary amount to sick friend(s). Conusume what remains in copious quantities, perhaps with some buttered toast on the side.


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