I was going to call this chicken noodle soup, because any short thicker style pasta will work. But, I love it with orecchiette the best so let’s give those little ears of pasta a starring role in the recipe name. They deserve it.
This soup is healthy comfort food. It tastes super (souper? ha, I’m the worst) clean and soul warming but is still hearty. There’s a number of important things that make this soup the wonderful soup it is:
- You use the whole chicken for flavour, less waste and less cost (no buying expensive stock)
- The thick cut pasta doesn’t disintegrate.
- The stock has parmesan rind added to it. It’s key, do not skip this. You haven’t had broth until you’ve had parmesan laced broth.
- You use all your vegetable off cuts and herb stalks.
- The lemon zest and squeeze of lemon make everything taste light and fresh.
- You can use a larger chicken than that specified and have leftover shredded chicken for other dishes such as this fried rice, or these noodles, or this killer toasty.
- You can freeze your leftovers thus cutting down on future lunch prep.
I’ve made it with wholemeal pasta and sorgum pasta (this is gluten free) before too and these both work well as they’re the sort of pastas that can be a little tough normally, lending themselves the sort of structurally sound pasta that’s perfectly suited to sitting in a broth.
If you really want to get next level with your waste free game then set aside the bones and boil them to make bone broth after you’ve taken every last bit of chicken off. You will not regret this, it’s great to use as stock in the future. Thus you’re getting extra stock, from your stock.
If you don’t like kale you could use silverbeet or English spinach. Kale stands up to temperature really well without completely disintegrating, that’s why it’s my preference here. Plus I always have it as I’m addicted to spiced kale chips. I’m a cliche.
For the celery and carrot in the soup, you can use the ends and tops of carrots that you’ve chopped off at other times if you have them. I keep a freezer bag of these for use in stocks. You can also just use fresh ones!
Parmesan rind: You can keep these from your parmesan and freeze them in a ziplock bag for occasions like this. And for this Pumpkin Pasta.
1.5kg whole chicken
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup parmesan rind (or just the rind off one wedge of parmesan will be enough.
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped (it can be the equivalent in celery trimmings, approx 1 cup)
2 carrots, roughly chopped (it can be the equivalent in celery trimmings, approx 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, skin removed.
1 brown onion (or the white ends of a few spring onions) – you’re not eating this so it’s still fructose friendly.
1 handful parsley stalks (just whatever you have left from the parsley leaves below)
4 sprigs thyme or oregano
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs black peppercorns
4 carrots, 1cm dice
4 finely sliced stalks of celery
1/4 cup spring onion, finely sliced (optional)
4 cups kale, finely shredded
1.5 cups orecchiette (can sub with a short gluten free pasta but use lentil based or soergum as it will be able to sit in the broth for longer)
4 Tbs freshly grated parmesan
4 Tbs finely shredded flat leaf parsley
4 sprigs thyme or oregano
6 lemon wedges
Chilli flakes (optional)
Place all the stock ingredients into a large stock pot (who’d have though?). Fill with water until a couple of inches from the top. The chicken must be fully submerged. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Remove the chicken carefully and set aside.
Continue to cook the stock for 10 minutes. Skim the fat off the top of it. Strain stock into a separate large pot and discard the stock vegetables.
Place the stock back on high heat and add the carrots, spring onion and celery. Bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes, or 1 minute less than according to packet directions (don’t use a pasta that takes less than 8 minutes).
Meanwhile, carefully remove the cooked chicken from the carcass and shred with your fingers or a fork. Add to the hot broth along with the kale for the last 2 minutes of pasta cooking time.
Check seasoning, add salt and pepper if required.
Serve with parmesan, zest and parsley over top and a crack of black pepper. Squeeze the lemon over just before eating.