I've been cooking my way through several of her cookbooks and decided it was time to try Ina's take on chicken noodle soup (Barefoot Contessa Family Style). Ina has convinced me that baking chicken breasts for chicken soup or for chicken salad is far superior to poaching them. I was converted the first time I made her spectacular chicken salad (recipe here).
1 whole (2 split) chicken breast, bone in, skin on
freshly ground black pepper
2 quarts homemade chicken stock
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
1 cup medium-diced carrots (3 carrots)
2 cups wide egg noodles (about 3 oz dry) - I use the no yolk variety
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the chicken breast on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes until cooked through. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin, then remove the meat from the bones and dice the chicken meat.
Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large pot and add the celery, carrots, and the noodles. Simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, until the noodles and vegetables are cooked. Add the cooked chicken meat and parsley. Season to taste and serve.
This is not rocket science. This is a straightforward recipe for those nights when you don't have time to start with a whole chicken and work your way through making stock, then turning it into soup. Either use chicken stock you've made and frozen ahead of time, or cheat and use one of the many stocks available in the market. This is soul-satisfying soup that we enjoyed as dinner with some cheesy garlic bread. Leftovers make a wonderful lunch, or eat half and freeze half for another, "I got home late and don't have time to cook." This is a filling, yet relatively low-calorie food.