Salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo
Put ’em together and what have you got
The chicken noodle soup that we are making today is magic, à la bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.
Now you see it.
Now you don’t!
I know ‘now you see it, now you don’t,’ doesn’t necessarily make sense here, but I have a magic theme I am sticking with because the before and after photos are so dramatic.
A recent visit to Luby’s inspired my effort with this chicken noodle soup. Luby’s is a cafeteria style restaurant in Texas with traditional southern cooking. My dad ordered the chicken noodle soup, and to my surprise it actually looked appetizing. This isn’t an insult to Luby’s, it’s an insult to chicken noodle soup. Usually chicken noodle soup looks so bland and boring, and my palette’s memories of chicken noodle soup are the same. Except for this chicken noodle soup at Luby’s. (And except for Chick-fil-A’s chicken noodle soup).
Naturally, because I am an O.G. daddy’s girl 4 ever, I needed to learn how to make this for him at home. To make this soup I combined two recipes: a Luby’s chicken noodle soup copycat recipe, and of course, Chrissy Teigen’s chicken noodle soup recipe from her cookbook, Cravings. This is a heavier and comforting chicken noodle soup. The broth is packed with weight and flavor.
How is This Chicken Noodle Soup different from the rest?
- Other Chicken Noodle Soups: A broth so thin it tastes like I am drinking hot, savory water.
- This Chicken Noodle Soup: A nice, thick broth, it tastes and feels like I am eating real food.
- Other Chicken Noodle Soups: Bland, uneventful, boring
- This Chicken Noodle Soup: Loaded with herbs and spices. Using a nice variety of herbs and spices is so important to me because it allows for so many layers of flavor, without having to rely on butter and flour (although their are copious amounts of both in here. Because of Luby’s). I read multiple chicken noodle soup recipes and combined all of the seasonings I found.
- Other Chicken Noodle Soups: Poor quality and piddly amounts and sizes of veggies and chicken
- This Chicken Noodle Soup: Includes large chunks of carrots, celery, and chicken. Its like you are eating real food, like you’re eating a meal!
Let the Spoon Be Your Guide
With this adorbs spoon as our guide, we will go through the recipe, highlighting the five magic tricks involved as we come across each.
Magic Trick #1: Butter
First begin with a stick of butter, also known as 1/2 cup of butter. Or 8 tablespoons of butter. All the same thing. Just refer to it with whichever label induces less guilt. Or don’t even label the amount of butter– stick, cup, tablespoons– we are too involved with labels, anyhow.
(But for real, I know. Oh my gosh. It’s kind of a lot of butter. I guess you could say that this isn’t a healthy chicken noodle soup.)
As any Texan can guess, the Luby’s recipe is the one who demanded the stick of butter.
Magic Trick #2: Large Chunks of Carrots and Celery, and Lots of Fresh Pressed Garlic
This makes us think we are eating real food– because we will be eating real food! The Luby’s recipe has chunks of potatoes in it, too. I say that if there’s another vegetable that you really want in it, then add it!
I had a lot of veggies. I wanted the carrots to be approaching soft, but not mushy, while cooking in the butter over medium heat.
I softened for about 15 minutes, maybe a little longer. I think the key here is just that I wanted the onions to be translucent.
Oh, and the Garlic.
Chrissy’s recipe calls for about 4 cloves of garlic, which, naturally, means I almost doubled that. I always do that. I use, like, 1.5 – 2 times the amount of garlic the original recipe calls for. I have NEVER added too much garlic and regretted it. Other seasonings? Yes. I regret using Rosemary more frequently than I’d like. Too much thyme? No. I haven’t regretted thyme yet.
I use a garlic press for my garlic, too. I just think it helps the garlic incorporate seamlessly into the recipe. Truthfully the garlic press is a little bit of a pain, but I think it’s only because I use so many cloves of garlic that the tediousness adds up.
Magic Trick #3: Herbs and Spices
The herbs and spices are the real reasons that I ended up combining multiple recipes to create this soup. Chicken noodle soup has serious potential to be so stinking boring, and layers of flavors is so delightful.
Between the two recipes, these are the herbs and spices I ended up adding:
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon thyme (I probably added more than that because I love thyme)
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
1.5 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
But be careful with the salt and pepper. The first time I tried this recipe I added too much salt and pepper and it was difficult to get around it. My mom was able to help in salvaging the soup by adding more water, but just don’t do it. Learn from my mistake and don’t be heavy handed with the salt and pepper at this point. Wait until the end to season to taste.
The actual recipes call for 1 tablespoon of salt, but I have had 3 bad experiences where I followed the recipe and added 1 tablespoon of salt and I was so miserable because I wasted what could have been beautiful food because I absolutely could not get past the salt. It was like licking a salt cube.
Magic Trick #4: Flour
This is the real heart of the recipe, this is what makes the broth nice and thick, as opposed to savory hot water. The Luby’s chicken noodle soup copycat recipe calls for 1/2 cup of flour; add to the veggies and stir well for 1 minute.
I didn’t want the mixture to get any browner than this, or any stickier, so after this point I added the chicken broth.
Once I poured in the chicken broth I brought the soup to a boil, and then allowed it so simmer over medium-low heat for an hour.
If you aren’t using a rotisserie chicken you can prepare your chicken during this hour, and go ahead and cube or shred, whichever you prefer.
Magic Trick #5: Fun Noodles
Look at how fun that little noodle in the photo below is, trying to escape off of the spoon. You can go about the noodles two ways.
- You can boil them and set them aside to be added at the end. Pros: You know the noodles will cook for the right amount of time and won’t risk mushiness. Con: You’ll have one more pot to wash.
- Or you can stir in the uncooked noodles right before you turn the soup down to simmer. Pro: One less pot to wash. Con: This is a risk, you don’t want the noodles to overcook and be mushy.
I’ve worked with the noodles both ways. When I added the uncooked noodles into the soup and left them in there, simmering for an hour, they were not mushy.
Last, but Not Least
After the hour of simmering, stir in the cooked noodles (if you haven’t already), and the chicken.
I used a rotisserie chicken for my soup. You can shred the chicken or cut it into cubes. Chrissy says to use a mixture of white and dark meat. Obviously you can do whatever you want, but because we are all about flavor I went ahead and abided. Do the chicken however you usually do chicken, though.
Once the noodles and chicken have been incorporated with the broth, allow the new food family to continue simmering for 10 minutes or so, until the noodles and chicken are heated through.
A Side Note About Better Than Bouillon
I added this to the soup both times that I made it, but the last time I made this soup, it was almost a little too rich and savory, and I blame this guy. Typically this wouldn’t be something I would add because this is screaming science lab ingredients all over it. Hello, MSG. But the Luby’s copycat recipe called for this stuff, along with another recipe I used as a guide, and at the time I was committed to the process.
We have a lot going on for us already in this soup though– lots of butter, flour, garlic, and herbs and spices, I think we are okay to tell MSG , ‘boy, bye’.
Tired of chicken noodle soups with bland, thin broth, and piddly amounts of chicken and vegetables? Make this chicken noodle soup, instead. Hearty, satisfying, and comforting. With large chunks of veggies and chicken, along with a heavy and flavorful broth, you'll feel like you're eating a real meal.
- 1 stick butter
- 1 medium onion diced
- 5 medium carrots cut into coins
- 6 celery stalks cut into half moons
- 6-8 cloves garlic minced
- 1.5 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- 8-10 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups cooked noodles wide egg noodles, or some other fun variety
- 3 cups shredded or diced rotisserie chicken
Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Enjoy the smell of butter melting.
Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and sauté over medium high heat until the veggies are tender, or the onions begin to turn translucent. I wouldn't sauté for any more than 13 minutes, at risk of the veggies getting mushy while they're simmering in the broth later on.
Enjoy the smell of these aromatics sautéing in butter. And stir frequently to keep the veggies from sticking to the bottoms and sides of the pot.
Toss in all of your seasonings, except for the bay leaf.
Sprinkle the flour over the veggies, keeping the flour evenly distributed. Stir well for 1 minute.
Pour in the chicken broth, and add the bay leaf.
Bring the soup to a boil, and once it reaches a boil reduce the heat to low or medium-low, allowing the soup to simmer for 60 minutes. This will let the flavors mingle together and marry. Keep an eye on the soup and stir occasionally, just to ensure that nothing is sticking in the pot.
While the soup is simmering, prep the noodles and chicken.
Cook the noodles according to the package instructions, and set aside. Toss the noodles with a little bit of oil to keep them from sticking together.
Shred or cube your rotisserie chicken. Combine light and dark meat.
At the end of 60 minutes gently stir your noodles and chicken into the soup, and allow to heat through for an additional 10 minutes.
Serve and enjoy! This soup will be so hot, tasty, and delicious. Good news is that it reheats nicely, too!