Homemade Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup
For the chicken stock
4 to 6 pound whole chicken or chicken parts (including 2 breasts) (See Recipe Notes)
3 to 4 bay leaves (dried or fresh)
5 to 7 whole cloves garlic, peeled
1 large onion (any kind), peeled and quartered
1 pound (about 2 large) whole carrots, washed, unpeeled and roughly chopped
1/2 pound (about 4 medium stalks) celery, washed and roughly chopped (include any leaves)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 to 4 quarts water
2 tablespoons (28 g) extra-virgin olive oil
For the soup
12 to 16 ounces gluten free flat egg or rice noodles (See Recipe Notes)
Drizzle of neutral oil (like grapeseed, canola, or vegetable)
2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter
1 pound (about 2 large) whole carrots, washed, peeled and sliced thinly by cross-section
1/2 pound (about 4 medium stalks) celery, washed and sliced thinly by cross-section
Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
Chopped fresh parsley, for serving
For the chicken breasts
We will set the chicken breasts aside and cook them separately. They don’t add much flavor to the stock if they’re cooked along with the other parts, but they’ll give up all they’ve got.
You can cook the breasts up to 3 days ahead of when you want to serve the soup, and just keep them in the refrigerator. The strained stock can be stored in the refrigerator in sealed containers for about 1 week, or frozen for longer storage.
For the noodles
I like Thai Kitchen brand or Lotus Foods brand rice noodles in this recipe. You can, of course, use your favorite gluten free pasta.
Since we cook the pasta separately and only combine it with the soup on serving, don’t shave off any cooking time from the pasta. Cook it how you’d like to eat it.
If you’re using a whole chicken, you’ll need to break it down into parts. All you really need is poultry shears, which can cut through bone. Place the chicken on a clean, dry surface, breast-side up. Press down on the backbone very firmly to break the back (sorry, chicken), and then separate out the wings, legs, thighs, and as many large bones as you can. Discard as many tiny bones, gristle, and as much fat as possible, leaving as much of the skin intact as possible. I even clean off the neck and include it, but discard the giblets because I’m only human. Set the breasts aside.
If you’re using chicken parts, be sure you have at least 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, and two breasts. Set the breasts aside.
In the bowl of an Instant Pot or a very large stockpot (I used a 7-quart pot), place the dark pieces of chicken plus any assorted non-white-meat pieces (everything but the breasts), the bay leaves (dried or fresh both fine), garlic cloves, onion quarters, chunks of carrots and celery, salt and pepper. Add enough tap water to nearly fill the pot and cover all the ingredients in water.
If you’re making your stock on the stovetop: Place the pot on the stovetop. Place the cover on, but askew so that some steam can escape. Bring the contents to a boil over medium-high heat and continue to cook until the vegetables are very fork tender and the chicken has begun to separate from the bones (around 2 hours). Remove the pot from the stove and uncover it. Allow it to cool until the contents are no longer too hot to handle. Remove all the pieces (vegetables, bones, meat) to a separate bowl, and strain the stock into glass bowls or containers. Let the containers cool, uncovered, and then refrigerate until ready to use.
If you’re using an Instant Pot for the stock: Plug in your Instant Pot, and return the bowl to the appliance. Secure the lid, making sure the vent is set to “seal.” Press the “Manual” dial and increase the cooking time to 40 minutes. The pot will take some time to come to temperature and seal. Once it has finished cooking, allow the pressure to reduce naturally for as long as you can, then manually release the remaining pressure. The vent will sputter, so cover it with a towel and step back. Uncover the pot, and allow it to cool until the contents are no longer too hot to handle. Remove all the pieces (vegetables, bones, meat) to a separate bowl, and strain the stock into glass bowls or containers. Let the containers cool, uncovered, and then refrigerate until ready to use.
Separate as much of the dark meat as you can from the other cooked ingredients, and set it aside to serve with the soup. The vegetables will be really soft and rather flavorless, but I still eat them on their own. Discard the bones, skin, any other chicken parts, and the bay leaves. Strain out any impurities from the stock with a metal strainer.
Cook the chicken breasts: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Place the breasts in a lined or greased baking dish or quarter sheet pan. Drizzle them meat with the olive oil, and cover it completely with parchment paper placed directly on top of it. Place the dish in the hot oven and cook for about 20 minutes or until an instant-reader thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of each breast reads at least 165°F. Allow to rest outside the oven, still covered, for 10 minutes. Remove and discard any skin, bones, or cartilage and chop into small chunks. This is to serve with the soup, and can be made ahead and refrigerated, once cool, for up to 2 days.
To make the soup: Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Rinse them thoroughly with warm water, and drain them completely. Toss them with a bit of oil and set them aside.
In a medium to large, heavy bottom pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sliced carrots and celery and stir to combine. Cover and cook until the vegetables are fork tender (about 6 minutes). Remove as much of the stock from the refrigerator as you plan to serve. I usually serve 8 cups of stock (2/3 of the total) to feed 4 people. Scrape off and discard any fat that has solidified at the top of the liquid, and pour the liquid into the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat until hot (about 5 minutes).
To serve, place noodles and cooked chicken in each serving bowl, and then ladle in the hot soup with cooked vegetables. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve hot.