David's Favorite Recipes

The Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup



Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, thyme, and bay leaves. Cover and cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until the vegetables have softened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and thyme and pour in the chicken stock. Raise the heat slightly and bring the stock to a boil; then, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste; it may need 2 to 3 teaspoons of kosher salt, but take care to adjust the seasoning to your own taste.

In a separate pot of boiling water, cook the noodles following the package instructions until they are al dente, tender but still slightly chewy. Ladle out and save ½ cup of the cooking water and drain the noodles; return the noodles to the pot you cooked them in and stir in the reserved cooking water to keep them from drying out or sticking.

To serve, ladle the soup and vegetables into individual heated serving bowls. Evenly divide the chicken and noodles among the bowls. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Chicken noodle soup is as American as apple pie, and I’ve tried many, many versions while working in the food business and on my own. This recipe is, in my opinion, the ultimate version. The secrets are to start with delicious homemade chicken stock (see page 26); butter poach the chicken breasts (see my daughter Heather’s recipe on page 130); and cook the noodles al dente, adding them separately just before serving. The result will cheer you up on any cold winter day.


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch coins
2 celery stalks, cut into ½-inch pieces
3 or 4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
6 cups The Essential Homemade Chicken Stock (page 26), or good-quality canned chicken stock or broth
6 ounces dried extra-wide egg noodles
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butter poached (page 130), cut into ¾-inch pieces, and kept warm
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh Italian parsley, for garnish