I’ve got this fiesty friend who’s been a news anchor for all sorts of the best TV stations. She’s wicked smart and full of opinion and I like her a lot. Some months ago, she mentioned via email her absolute astonishment that a niece of hers had never had chicken noodle soup cooked the real way. “The real way,” according to her definition, is soup made from a whole chicken, simmered on the stove for a hundred years until the meat is tender and buttery, with a broth that doesn’t call for grainy bullion cubes or pre-made anything. Real soup takes all day to cook. It calls for whole, pure vegetables and handfuls of fresh herbs. It’s filled with handmade egg noodles that are soft and chewy. It tastes like a dream. Smooth. Salty. Rich. Perfect.
For those of you who have never had real soup, I dare you to set aside your Saturday and taste for yourself what 12 straight hours of cooking time will do to a whole chicken and a handful of veggies. It isn’t quick. But it’s bliss, I tell you. So good, in fact, that you might just see stars.
Homemade Chicken & Stars Soup
1 whole fryer chicken
Sprig of fresh thyme
Sprig of fresh rosemary
Sprig of fresh dill
2 anise stars
Salt & pepper to taste
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups baby carrots
1 cup celery, diced
1 recipe of Homemade Chicken Star Pasta
Place all ingredients in a very large pot (to keep the broth from becoming too fatty, cut the skin off of the chicken but leave the giblets and everything else inside). Cover the chicken and all other ingredients completely with water. Bring to a boil on a stove heated to medium-high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low, cover the pot and allow to simmer for 9-12 hours, replenishing the water as needed hourly to keep the chicken completely submerged.
When ready to serve, remove the chicken from the pot and shred the light and dark meats, then return them to the pot (I used a 3 pound chicken and only needed about half of the meat for my soup. If you have too much chicken for your pot, feel free to wrap it tightly and refrigerate it for use in another recipe). Discard the carcass. Bring the pot of soup back to a boil and drop the Homemade Pasta Stars into the boiling soup one at a time. Allow to cook for 5-10 minutes. Season the broth with salt & pepper to taste. Serve & enjoy!