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Mar 6, 2008 11:08 AM

Chicken soup advice!

I really love Progresso chicken noodle soup (reduced sodium one). Unfortunately, it is so artificial and has so much msg that I want to try to avoid it. I am a college student, so making home made stock is not an option. So, I bought a natural chicken stock (this one really doesn’t have msg- even under it’s pseudonyms ex: hydrolyzed protein). So, I put some veggies (green beans and carrots) the broth, left over chicken, and noodles in the pot. Let’s just say that everyone last night had leftovers. It did not taste at all like “homemade chicken soup.” Any suggestions? Thanks so much!

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  1. sautee the veggies first with some s&p. I used carrots, onion, and celery last night. sometimes i use a bit of garlic. pour over the stock, broth, or better than bullion and bring to a simmer. (I used homemade last night....). I poach the chicken breasts in the soup and shred it up and return it to the soup. Last night i added some egg noodles, but sometimes I use barley or rice. it was delicious.

    1. Not clear whether you're doing this in a dorm or an apartment. If the latter, it's worth buying a Crock-Pot (or ask for one for your birthday). You can dump all kinds of things in it and when you come home 8 hours later your dinner will be ready. My son's cooking days began with college life, a Crock-Pot, and homemade chili. Re stock: just put a few chicken leg & thigh pieces, a cut-up onion, a couple of cut-up pieces of celery, salt, and water to an inch from the top in your Crock-Pot, turn it on, and 8 hours later you will have REAL chicken stock. If you have a big (5 quarts roughly) Crock-Pot use 4 chicken leg-thighs. Afterwards, remove all the solids and add noodles or whatever you want. BTW the reason canned soup is so tasty is that it is loaded with all those chemicals you mentioned: that's why they're there. Gross concept, isn't it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Querencia

        I second the motion of using leg and thigh meat. Those pieces have a richer flavor than do chicken breasts. I know that from a health standpoint chicken fat is a no-no, but it does add flavor. If you can tolerate having the skin on the meat while cooking, do so, and remove the skin before serving the soup.

      2. I make a relatively "healthy" (I use dark meat) and very non-traditional chicken soup in the microwave. I use a large microwave proof casserole with a lid (Pyrex makes a nice one), then put in one or two raw chicken thighs (with skin), a large variety of fresh or frozen vegetables and an individual serving size of V-8 vegetable juice. Then bring the liquid level high enough to cover everything completely using organic chicken broth. You can use water if you don't have the broth on hand. And of course, you can omit the V-8 if you want something more traditional. Nuke on high for 18 or so minutes, testing the thighs for doneness. Remove chicken thighs and skin/bone them, break thigh meat into pieces and return to soup. Mix well and serve.

        Veggies I've used: Basically everything, but ALWAYS onion. Bell pepper will modify the flavor more than any other veggie, but it's still good and I do add Hungarian sweet paprika for more of a "goulash" flavor. A typical mix of veggies is diced or sliced onion, chopped fresh tomatoes, celery, sliced cabbage, diced potatoes, fresh spinach leaves, zucchini. Corn can be used fresh (off the cob), frozen or canned, they all work just fine, but this isn't true of other canned veggies. No limit on the combination of vegetables you can use if you have them on hand. Toss in some beets and you've got an 'Accidental Borscht." And then, of course, you're beholden to top it off with a dollop of sour cream, which is also true of the goulash-y soup. Quick, easy, and good. For the hearty kinds that cry out for sour cream, add a crusty loaf of artisan bread and you've got a complete winter meal. Hey, it's snowing outside. Maybe it's time to nuke!

        1. It sounds like your soup was missing the flavors provided by herbs, onions, garlic, and celery. I think celery is a key ingredient. I saute minced garlic, chopped onions, celery and carrots in a small bit of oil. Add broth and leftover chicken. Add 1 or 2 bay leaves (but make sure to remove before serving), 1/2 tsp dillweed, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1 tsp salt. I'm trying to remember my recipe which is actually adapted from a vegetarian mock chicken noodle soup in one of the Moosewood cookbooks. And I use rice instead of noodles because that's what my husband likes. Fresh parsley is a good addition, too.
          BTW a good place to buy herbs and spices is at a health food store or food co-op where they are sold in bulk and you can measure out only what you need.

          1. Yep, as everyone said -- you were probably missing some of the most important aromatics, namely mirepoix = finely diced carrots, celery stalk, and onion. I also always throw leeks in which give the soup a distinct onion-y (or, perhaps more acurate 'leek-y) flavor. Start off with sweating the mirepoix, then add the soup/stock/what have you. Throw in thigh meat, and I'd definitely get the skin-on type. Another pound of carrots (hey, I like my carrots), simmer for an hour or so. I'd also recommend boiling the egg noodles in their own pot. The thigh meat should fall off the bone pretty much, and the skin comes off easily. Assemble soup, meat & noodles = overall yumboskiness. Oh, and some chopped fresh parsley at the end is GREAT.