Chicken noodle soup is probably the top comfort food of all time. You'll need to start a day ahead to prepare the tasty homemade broth. A serving of this soup provides about 200 micrograms of vitamin A, just shy of one-third of the RDA.
1 (4-pound) whole chicken
2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
6 cups water
1 1/3 cups chopped carrot
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons salt
8 ounces uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Lemon wedges (optional)
Coarsely cracked black pepper (optional)
How to Make It
Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Place chicken in a large Dutch oven. Add 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery stalks, and next 5 ingredients (through bay leaves) to pan. Add 6 cups water; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes.
Remove chicken from pan; place chicken in a bowl. Chill 15 minutes. Discard skin; remove chicken from bones, discarding bones. Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces; cover and chill. Strain broth mixture through a sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. Cool broth mixture to room temperature. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours. Skim fat from surface; discard.
Add enough water to broth to equal 9 cups; place broth mixture in a large Dutch oven. Add 1 1/3 cups carrot, 1 1/4 cups onion, 1 cup celery, and salt to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add reserved chicken, and simmer 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Keep warm.
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add pasta to pan with chicken and broth mixture; stir in parsley, rind, and juice. Garnish each serving with lemon wedges and cracked black pepper, if desired.